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A diamond in the rough times: Grande Prairie couple celebrates 60th anniversary

A local family isn’t letting a global pandemic get in the way of marking a diamond anniversary. Paul and Julie Peacock celebrated 60 years together this December, despite restrictions on gatherings.

Stationed in Cherry Point, North Carolina in the summer of 1960, Paul Peacock took a drive that changed his life. After being asked by his parents to fetch a loaf of bread for lunch, he locked eyes with a woman who is still by his side 60 years later.

“On Saturdays and Sundays, the kids would go to the town square area to sit and watch who was driving by,” he says. “I saw a girl I had met two years before in summer school, Julie Field… I told [my cousin] Gilbert, ‘hey, I’m gonna stop and talk to her to see if I can get a date for tonight.'”

Paul says on the drive back from the square, he told Gilbert he was going to marry her.

Paul and Julie’s wedding day, December 16th, 1960 (Supplied, Wendy Saban)
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Julie says the memories of their first date are very clear in her mind but jokes that the lightning bolt may have been caused by something other than love itself.

“Paul sat in the back seat with me and asked me why I shaved my legs above my knees,” she jokes. “He touched my leg so I smacked him and the rest is history.”

Paul was eventually stationed at Saskatoon Island’s USAF’s Air Defense Command, which, was at the time, was part of the strategic group North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD. The time spent in the military began their love of the Peace Region and northwestern Alberta.

Paul and Julie’s daughter, Wendy Saban, says in 1982 the couple moved to Grande Prairie.

However, even with some health issues, the couple remains very much the same sweet, loving youngsters to this day. Saban adds they were even able to spend their anniversary with their immediate family.

“They like The Keg, so we were going to take them on Wednesday, but of course with the new restrictions we weren’t able to do that, so we took them out last week.”

The couple officially celebrates their anniversary on December 16th.

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