Diamond celebration for Comox Valley couple celebrating 75 years of marriage

Bud Tarling admits he’s relatively shy.

He is so thankful that for a fleeting moment near the elevator in the Empress Hotel in 1941, standing next to a girl named Joan, he went with his gut, and his heart won over his shyness.

“I don’t know what got into me,” says the 96-year-old Comox Valley resident with a laugh from his home at the Comox Valley Seniors Village.

“I impulsively put my arms around her and gave her a kiss. She didn’t object.”

Fast forward to earlier this week, and Bud and his wife Joan, 94, who is in residential care at the complex, celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary with friends and family and enjoyed a piece of cake from a replica of their original wedding cake from 1942.

• • •

Around age 16, Bud – an orphan who was raised by his aunt – joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. After his initial posting in Vancouver, he moved to Victoria.

In 1941, the air force authorized a gala dance at the Empress, a dance which he and his best friend Nick were planning on attending.

“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that every young girl in the city was looking for a date (to the dance).”

Nick was the chairman of the decorating committee, and in an effort to find a Royal Canadian Air Force flag, he made his way to way to a Woolworth’s store on Douglas Street.

It was there he saw “a beautiful young woman at the door working there preventing late shoppers from getting in,” explains Tarling. Nick asked Joan to the dance, and they exchanged phone numbers.

Darling, who admits he had “a casual girlfriend” at the time, rented a room with his best friend at the hotel in order to have a place for their dates to leave their jackets and purses behind.

The Tarlings on their wedding day – Sept. 26, 1942.

During what Tarling, then 21-years-old, specifically recalls was the fourth dance, he and Nick switched partners and he asked Joan if she would like to dance to another song.

“She told me that she wanted to up to the room first to get some Kleenex out of her purse, so I asked her if it would be okay if I came with.”

It was there, waiting for the elevator to go up to the room, where Tarling leaned in and gave her a kiss.

Then he had some explaining to do.

“I was beginning to feel quite guilty because I was thinking I’m in love with this girl, but she was Nick’s date. One night, about a month and a half later, I asked Nick ‘are you serious about Joan?’ He asked me why would I ask him that question, and I told him I think I’m in love with her.”

Nick told Tarling they weren’t serious, which “made me feel like I was 20 years younger. And I was 20 then. So we switched,” he adds with a laugh.

A year later, when a Tarling found out he was being posted to Tofino, he decided he didn’t want to leave his girlfriend behind, so he asked Joan to marry him. The couple married on Sept. 26, 1942.

• • •

Looking back at their 75 years of marriage together, Tarling says all he can think of – beginning with their very first dance – is that they just seemed “to fit.”

The couple has three children – Carol, Bob and Pat – seven grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

“I just love (Joan) her so dearly,” notes Tarling. “We’ve had a wonderful life. I’ve basically been on my own after I was orphaned at age 10 and my family grew thanks to Joan, from one to 39 (counting spouses.) It’s been a wonderful, wonderful experience.”

As for marriage advice, Tarling offers five tips:

“One, pick the right girl. Two, love. Remember things like anniversaries, birthdays and other things that show your love. Three, compromise. Marriage is a 50/50 proposition, and you want to make sure you don’t end up 95/five. Four, morality. There’s no cheating.”

And as for number five?

“Keep breathing. That might be the most important,” he adds with a laugh.

Just Posted

Crown asks for more time in Oak Bay murder of young sisters

They will reconvene in three weeks to set a date for Andrew Berry’s murder trial to begin

GALLERY: Snow Day in Oak Bay

Giant snowmen, tobogganing, and a quiet golf course

School’s on today, more snow expected across Greater Victoria

Environment Canada says more snow could fall Friday

Nitwits, Touts and Oak Bay Council

Oak Bay Heritage hosts lecture on Memoirs of George Murdoch

Snow cancels, alters transit routes across Greater Victoria

Buses will not be stopping on steep hills, says BC Transit

GALLERY: Snow Day in Oak Bay

Giant snowmen, tobogganing, and a quiet golf course

B.C. MP invites convicted terrorist to Trudeau reception in India

Jaspal Atwal was convicted of trying to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Women’s ice hockey team loses first Olympic game in 20 years

Team Canada added two silvers and a bronze to their total

‘You just don’t know when someone has a challenge’

Wounded Warriors Run BC spreads awareness of mental health, hopes to raise $100,000

Canadian support split on Trans Mountain pipeline debate: Poll

Angus Reid poll surveying Canadians on pipeline stance finds no clear winner

Tired of ‘big city life’? One-stoplight town hosts contest to lure in city slickers

Contest by BC Rural Centre hopes to attract city folks to a small town in the Kootenays

Student protest outside White House a snapshot of American gun debate

Demonstrators take part in a student protest for gun control legislation in front of the White House

Feds can’t do much to fight fake news in Canada

Federal government can’t do much to fight fake news: Canadian Heritage documents

Canada’s Boutin wins silver in women’s 1,000 short track

Women’s 1,000-metre short-track speedskater Kim Boutin wins silver the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Thursday

Most Read