Couple celebrating 50th anniversary credits God for their union

A Portland couple is celebrating their 50th anniversary after meeting during Fleet Week at the Portland Rose Festival.

“I just think our story is really special, really special,” said Navy veteran Dave Astin.

Fifty years ago, he was a sailor in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Providence. He was three months into his service – a little wet behind the ears.

“In 1969, my ship came to Portland for the Rose Festival,” Dave said.

It was Fleet Week. A quick stop – only a few days.


“It just felt like God had brought us together.”


“I had duty Thursday and Saturday, but I had liberty on Sunday,” he said. “I chose a church out of a phone book.”

Dave got a ride from a family to a special church picnic on Mount Tabor.

It was Betty’s family.

Watch the story: Portland couple celebrating 50th anniversary after meeting during Rose Festival Fleet Week

He was 21, she was 19.

After some home-cooked food and good company, Betty drove Dave back to the waterfront.

“It just made sense for me to drive him back to the ship,” Betty said. “I don’t think anyone was up to anything.”

Dave said, “We agreed to write and then I knew something was up.”

A couple of months later, they saw each other again.

“My ship went to Seattle for Seafair in August and she came up,” Dave said.

Phone calls in between visits helped keep the connection.

“On the dock, where the ship was moored, there was a phone booth, so I always had to pick the right phone booth with the right phone number so that she could call,” said Dave.

And then, there was one more visit.

“I think I knew this girl was something special when I came up in October,” said Dave. “Why would I fly all the way to San Diego to Portland if she wasn’t something special?”

After just eight days spending time together, the two got married.

“It just felt like God had brought us together,” Dave said.

Years turned into decades – a home, kids, and grandkids – with plenty of ups and downs. But, they’ve done it all together.

“Dave and Betty, one of the great things, the positive impacts is doing those things together, creating a healthy menu each week for families, getting out and walking together with friends and family,” said Andrew Over with Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon.

Fifty years after they first met, Dave volunteers as a driver for the Rose Festival princesses.

Every year as the ships come in, it’s another reminder of where it all began.

“I don’t remember a lot about the Rose Festival before I met him, but he certainly brought it into my life in a big way,” Betty said.

Source: FOX12