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Celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary is a big deal.  Only 5 percent of married couples achieve the pinnacle of married life and celebrate a golden wedding anniversary according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  A half a century is a long time, or is it?

Patsy and Fred Connelly celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on June 25, 2016 with dinner at the Black Mountain Bistro with their children and grandchildren.  Fred retired as a pharmacist with CVS in Black Mountain three years ago, and Patsy retired from teaching home economics (Family and Consumer Science at Owen High School in 2002.  The Connelly’s son Christopher and his wife Julie and their children Julia, Scott and Robert joined Fred

and Patsy to celebrate.  Daughter Heather Connelly Brownfield and her husband Andrew and their children Brooklyn and Kennedy also attended the celebration.

Chris Connelly, son of Patsy and Fred said he thinks his parents have accomplished a lot in their lives.

"They have had an amazing marriage which I admire," Chris Connelly said. "Mom and dad's relationship was built on hard work, dedication to family and a strong belief in God.  These are all qualities that I hope to pattern in my own marriage and family."

The Connelly’s have retained their youthful good looks and energy levels. They are both 73 years old.

“We eat well and stay involved with friends and family,” Patsy said.  “We enjoy life.  It is very short so we don’t waste it.”

The couple was married in Spruce Pine at the United Methodist Church in a formal wedding a half century ago.

“It doesn’t seem like 50 years,” Patsy said.  “It seems like a lot less years since we got married, but when you begin to remember the individual experiences during those 50 ye

ars it seems like a half century.”

The Connellys agreed that the biggest challenges during their married life together has been Fred fighting cancer and expenses.  They also agreed that their greatest joys revolve around children, grandchildren, friends and their church.

“Fred’s cancer diagnosis in 2008 did not change our marriage,” Patsy said.  “We just stayed focused on getting him well.”

“We advised our children to always choose someone they like and enjoyed being around,” Fred said.

“We also advised our children to choose someone who

was well adjusted and happy

,” Patsy said.  “Choose someone you can be proud to be with.  Fred and I love each other dearly, and it has helped us deal with many of life’s challenges.  We advised our children to practice tolerance and forgiveness and to share the work involved in living.”

Heather Brownfield, daughter of Patsy and Fred Connelly said her parents have been a great role model in her marriage.

"My parents always put each other first in their lives and stood by each other's opinions on parenting and life in general," Brownfield said.  "I always felt my parent loved each other deeply and observed how openly affectionate they were on a regular basis.  My father always complemented my mother daily on what she cooked, how pretty she was that day and more.  I think my mother always felt loved and adored by my father."

"I admired how Fred and 'Pat' make time for each other and for their family, and have for the 20 years that I've been part of the family," Andrew Brownfield (son-in-law) said.  "They make it a point to eat dinner together as a family, around the kitchen table and talk about their day.  They make time to be a family and stay rooted in their values.  Now with our kids, Heather and I model much of our time with out kids after 'Pat' and Fred's example. We work hard to pass our values on to our kids." .

Granddaughters ages 3 and 5 are spending a couple of months with Fred and Patsy this summer.

“Three and five year old, beautiful and intelligent granddaughters are fun, but they do not keep you young,” Fred said.

Fred and Patsy have enjoyed sharing their passion for ballroom dancing that they have been doing for the past 16 years.   “We still dance about twice a month,” Fred said.

Fred and Patsy acknowledge that the golden wedding anniversary is a milestone, but are looking forward to many more years together.

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