Lincolnville couple celebrates 60 years of marriage
Lincolnville — Carole and Ken Hardy have been married since 1953. The spry pair, both 80, will celebrate 60 years of marriage Feb. 26.
When Carole Thomas, then of Camden, met Ken Hardy, of Lincolnville, they both were students at Camden High School.
"We got to know each other through rollerskating," Carole said, adding the pair began dating during autumn 1948.
A year ahead of Ken in school, Carole moved to New Hampshire after graduation to work for Foster's Daily Democrat as a proofreader and Linotype machine operator. She spent more than two years working at the newspaper, keeping in touch with Ken throughout, she said.
Ken joined the Air Force in 1952 as an airplane mechanic based at the now defunct Ramey Air Force Base in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Carole joined Ken in 1953 and the couple was married by the base chaplain. They presented their marriage license — bearing signs of age and written in Spanish — during a Feb. 11 interview at their daughter's Lincolnville home.
The couple stayed in Aguadilla and the first of their four children, daughter Cathy, was born in 1955.
"We had a two-and-a-half-year honeymoon," Carole said with a smile. She returned to Maine — expecting the couple's second child — about six months before her husband arrived home and they have lived in Maine ever since.
Even when airplane manufacturer Boeing courted Ken to work for them, he couldn't be persuaded to leave Maine.
"I wanted to stay around here, being with my family won out over money," he said.
Instead, Ken went to work as grooming and mountain manager at Camden Snow Bowl in the 1960s, where he remained for 12 years, he said. Carole worked for a Rockport-based company that made children's clothing for about 18 years, she added.
After leaving Camden Snow Bowl, Ken Hardy took a similar job at a ski area Greenville. While the couple agreed it was initially a difficult transition, they made the unorthodox schedule work. Ken said after working all week in Greenville, he journeyed home on weekends, using his beloved Piper Cub J-3 plane as a commuter vehicle.
"We got used to [the time away]," Carole said. She said one of the reasons for the longevity of their marriage is that they have always encouraged each other to pursue their individual passions and have not impeded one another.
"I had the plane for 18 years," Ken said.
Though he no longer flies, he was a registered Maine Master Guide and is still an avid fisherman and boater.
"I was totally on board with what he loves and I've always supported that," Carole added.
Carole said the pendulum swings both ways, she loves to travel and quilt, and is a charter member of Cornerstone Baptist Church. She said she has taken many trips with her children, including eight trips to the Caribbean with daughter Cathy, and multiple camping trips and excursions with friends and family. She's visited all but four U.S. states and went camping in Alaska in the late 1990s, she said.
"I love to travel with a capital 'T' — and all the other letters capital, too," Carole said.
Generally, the trips don't involve her husband, though he is very supportive of her lifelong wanderlust.
"I had all the traveling I wanted to do when I was in the service," said Ken with a laugh.
The couple surmised they've each done "98 percent" of the things they've wanted to do without their partner balking or creating obstacles. In 60 years they've never had a "knock-down, drag-out" verbal argument, they said.
"We've had disagreements, but never a serious fight. He's got a sweeter disposition, he's the peacemaker," Carole said of her husband.
She said she believes it is imperative that couples respect one another and respect each others' different interests as individuals.
Carole and Ken Hardy have periodically embraced each others' passions. They recalled a flight to Northern Maine together in the Piper Cub when Carole wanted to see a moose. Due to high winds and dwindling gas, Ken said he was forced to make a water landing. Though the plane was engulfed by surf, the pair made it to land, fueled up the plane and went on with their adventure.
"It seemed like every time she went up in the airplane with me we'd end up in a thunderstorm or something," Ken said, exchanging a smile with his wife.
The couple said they plan to take their four children and five of their six grandchildren to a celebratory dinner at Angler's Restaurant in Searsport in late February as an anniversary treat for the family.
Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.