Stan and Laura Owens grew up together in Green River, meeting for the first time at the public swimming pool that used to be located near Evers Park.
“He was chasing me and my friend (Stan’s cousin) in the pool saying he was an alligator, splashing us. My friend said, ‘that’s just my cousin, ignore him,’” Laura recalled. They were just young kids at the time.
Stan’s teasing lasted through high school, as he was always what Laura calls, “a clown.” He was two years ahead of her in school, and she was his favorite target for playful pranks.
“He was always teasing me. He put me in the garbage can one day. He’d take my gloves and hat and he’d hide them. Just funny things,” Laura said.
She also said Stan sat behind her in a class and would always poke her. When she’d turn around and tell him to knock it off, she’d get in trouble by the teacher and he wouldn’t.
The Start of Forever
Laura’s mother and Stan’s father grew up as neighbors, and her uncle and his dad were best friends. However, she said she didn’t have an interest in him for a long time. Not until after he graduated high school and their friends, who were engaged, set them up on a date.
They went out once, but Stan was already (kind of) seeing someone, so they didn’t go out for a while after that.
“Then, one day I was really sick with the flu and I got some beautiful flowers in the mail from him. I don’t think he knew I was sick, but he just happened to send flowers at just the right time,” Laura said.
After that, they started dating again and never looked back.
Strong Faith in God and Strong Family Values
So what do Stan and Laura say is the key to success in their marriage?
“Me working shift work,” Stan joked. “No, I think it’s having something in common like the church we go to.”
Laura agreed, saying, “we have a very strong faith in God, and we’ve built our marriage on that.”
She added that they both had the goal of being good parents and having a good family in which they wanted to raise their children to be kind people. They said they have also always strived to support each other.
“I’ve always been dedicated to her,” Stan said. “And I work hard to put up with her,” he added with a laugh.
They credit having strong family ties and support for their success in marriage as well. Laura grew up a block away from her and Stan’s own home, and Stan’s parents still live in the house he grew up in. Many of their family members remain in Green River, so they’ve never been without family support.
“I think the example of our parents being devoted to each other and being devoted to their children set a good example for us. When we got married, that devotion was what we both wanted,” Laura said. “We were in it for the long haul.”
Laura added that having the support of their kids has helped throughout the years as well.
“When your kids are there for you and support you, I think that plays into it too,” she said.
The Tougher Times
Though they both agree they have had a good marriage, they said they have not been without problems.
“We have had a good marriage,” Stan said. “We’ve also had our problems. We had a child pass away, and fortunately, that brought us closer together instead of further apart.”
Stan was laid off from the mines and got a job at a coal mine in Farmington, New Mexico, forcing him to move away for two years while Laura stayed home with the kids. Their two oldest kids had moved away already, but they still had four boys living at home.
“I think it was harder for him than it was for me. I still had family and my kids around me. I know it would have been very hard for me to leave and go do that,” she said.
Stan had about five days off every month, and he would come home during that time.
“It was a long drive, but he always came home,” Laura said.
Laura said they talked every day and that she was fortunate to have great kids who helped her out.
Just as they began talking seriously about moving the family to New Mexico, he got a call from General Chemical (now TATA) about a job and he came back to Green River.
Laura and Stan have always made it a point to be considerate of each other and support one another. Currently, Laura’s mother is living with them as she is in the final stages of her life.
“He’s been really supportive and very welcoming and very kind to my mother. He always has been. We both have good relationships with each other’s parents,” she said.
42 Years of Enjoying Each Other’s Company
Stan said a lot of their friends have gotten divorced over the years, and he saw a pattern of those couples spending a lot of time partying and going out with friends, rather than taking their spouse out. Stan always wanted to be with Laura, and though they do spent time with friends, they always tend to choose each other’s company.
“I enjoy her company, I don’t know if she likes mine,” Stan joked.
Laura said she appreciates how Stan always provided for the family so she could stay home and be a mother, watching her kids grow. She never felt pressured to get a job.
“He’s always been a good husband, a good provider for our family, and a good dad,” Laura said. “And he’s always been very free with saying he loves me, so I’ve always felt secure with our relationship.”
“You’re going to bring a tear to my eye,” Stan said.
Building a Life Together
What started as dates “dragging down main street”, going to dinner, hanging out at each other’s houses or at friends’, and trips to Little America for pie and hot chocolate eventually turned into a big family full of devotion to each other.
“We definitely don’t have the ‘me’ attitude,” Stan said. “She’s looking out for my needs and I’m looking out for her needs.”
What they humbly call “a boring life” is really a life of content and comfort. They still go to the movies, just like they did when they first started dating. It’s their favorite kind of date night.
They used to drive out to the mountains, and they still do this with annual camping trips nearly every summer for vacation. Many of their kids and grandkids join them on these camping trips.
What was it about each other that they knew they wanted to marry one another?
They simply fell in love and fell deeply.
They started dating in January 1976 and married in July 1976. Nearly 43 years later, Laura said “we never regretted it.”
“I just can’t imagine myself not being with him,” she said.