Kevin and Shirley O'Neill will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.
Kevin and Shirley O'Neill will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Contributed

Faith the key to couple's long marriage

KEVIN and Shirley O'Neill first met in Ballina in 1956 and are about to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.

Their granddaughter Melinda Player has shared memories of their life together.

Being raised in a generation where if something was broken, you fixed it, this year Kevin and Shirley O'Neill will celebrate their 60 years of marriage.

Kevin and Shirley (nee Soward) met in 1956 in Ballina while both were teaching at Ballina Public School. Two years later they were married in Mullumbimby Presbyterian Church on January 4, 1958.

They were both born at Murwillumbah and attended high school there, although they didn't know each other at high school. Kevin grew up in Tumbulgum and Shirley grew up in Crabbes Creek, Nobby's Creek and Brunswick Heads.

After their marriage they lived in Ballina for 11 years and had two children, Dell and Ross.

Five years after their second child was born they moved to Dubbo (in 1969) where they raised their children and Kevin continued teaching. Shirley went back to teaching after a knock on the door by a staff member explaining they really needed more teachers in their school.

A few years later when it was time to buy her son his first Bible, Shirley saw a need for a Christian book store in their town. She and a friend decided to open one together. In a time when women would usually stay home and tend to the needs of their children and the household, Shirley was managing a growing business.

Once their children left home and had their own children, Kevin and Shirley moved to Woolgoolga (in 1992) for their retirement.

Six grandchildren and three great grandchildren later, they moved to Tamworth (in 2015) and are living in a retirement complex. They are enjoying country life and being closer to their family.

This month Kevin and Shirley will celebrate their diamond anniversary with their family in Tamworth then the couple will travel to Coffs Harbour to celebrate with more family.

Kevin said: "Married life has been kind to us, in spite of differences which were quickly resolved. By the grace of God we have stayed together for 60 years.”

Living by biblical principles of putting God first in their lives and putting each other above themselves has enabled them to live a life of blessings.



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