MERIDEN – City residents William and Mary Godburn celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary on Monday.
The couple, both 93, had a large celebration for their 50th anniversary that included over 200 people, but the family decided to keep it relatively low-key for this milestone. The couple celebrated with their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren at Sans-Souci restaurant on Sunday.
William Godburn, the former and first-ever city fire marshal, was born and raised in South Meriden, but the couple’s 75-year-old story began in 1943 on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.
After serving in the Air Force in World War II, the military sent William Godburn to Southern Mississippi for education. His future wife was also pursuing a degree at the university.
”We met on campus when I wasn’t in class and just hit it off,” he said. “We would sit around the pool and just talk. We were married six months later.”
The couple’s marriage came about almost as suddenly as the proposal.
“I have no idea how it happened, it just kind of popped out,” he said of the day he asked Mary to marry him. “I had no ring, nothing. I wasn’t prepared. I don’t think she was either.”
The two were married by a Justice of the Peace in Oxford, Mississippi, but it wouldn’t be the last time they were declared husband and wife. The couple was married again years later at Holy Angels Church.
After they settled in South Meriden, a neighbor helped William Godburn joined the fire department in 1956. Mary Godburn stayed home to raise their three sons.
“We’re very lucky,” she said. “We have three great kids.”
All three received college degrees in Connecticut.
”You just keep learning,” Mary Godburn said of their relationship. “You have to make adjustments.”
The couple has made adjustments over their 75 years together, but a lot has stayed the same. William is a member of the Public Utilities Commission, as he continues his 65 years of serving his hometown. When he’s not at PUC meetings, he’s watching the Boston Red Sox or UConn basketball with his wife, who likes to remember her high school days as captain of her basketball team.
Much has changed around them, but the Godburns don’t miss a chance to acknowledge their good fortune.
“We’re very fortunate,” William Godburn said. “We’ve had a great marriage. We’ve had a very good time. Absolutely no complaints.”