Ahwatukee couple married for 50 years had chance encounter at grocery store

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Ahwatukee residents Larry and Mary Litchfield celebrated their golden anniversary in October. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Ahwatukee residents Larry and Mary Litchfield celebrated their golden anniversary in October. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Some say marriage is a failing institution. These days, an estimated half of all married couples will end up divorced.

Only 50 percent make it and a much smaller percent make it to 50 years. However, Ahwatukee residents Larry and Mary Litchfield have defied the odds.

They celebrated their golden anniversary last October.

[RELATED: Finding love in a Phoenix-area deli]

"When you say 50 years, it hasn't registered to me because I don't think it's been 50 years," Larry said.

Their love story began in Madison, Wisconsin on August 28, 1964.

That’s the day they met and both remember a lot of details. Larry was working at a grocery store and Mary walked in as a new checker.

"It was a Friday night and I was cutting the cheese," he laughed. "That sounds bad doesn't it?"

Larry was literally cutting Limburger cheese and wrapping it in plastic wrap.  

"So that was her first impression of me... stinky cheese," Larry said.

Larry asked the pretty 20-year-old co-worker out for pizza and the rest was history. They got married a few years later.

"It was a fall day, leaves were falling, air was crisp," Mary fondly recalled with a smile. "I remember thinking by this time tomorrow, I'll be Mrs. Litchfield."

The couple went on to raise two daughters and moved to Arizona in the early 90's.

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However, the couple has had their share of challenging times. Mary beat breast cancer and Larry survived a heart attack

"I remember when he was in intensive care," she teared up. "He said, 'If the kids are gonna give us grandkids, they better hurry.'

"Now we have four beautiful grandkids." 

Reflecting on the five decades gone by, Mary added, "I look at pictures when the kids were little, even before we had grandchildren and its hard to imagine we'd have this much fun."

The Litchfield's have big shoes to fill when it comes to longevity in wedded bliss. Both of their parents were married for over 60 years!

So what's the secret?

"You just say yes dear and move on," Larry laughed. "No, you try to keep a sense of humor, that helps. If we do get mad at each other, you wake up the next morning and it's a whole new day. And you just start over again."

Perhaps Mary said it best, "Life is a roller coaster, so is marriage. There's gonna be wonderful days and you wouldn't enjoy those days if you didn't have some rough spots."

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