By Colleen Boyle Sharp
Special to The CS&T
“We have been truly blessed in life,” said 86-year-old Jim Devers, a parishioner of St. Pius X Parish in Broomall, Delaware County. Jim and his wife Rose will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on Sept. 24. Most would say the longevity of their marriage is a rare accomplishment, but those who know the Devers realize that good marriage with these folks is a family affair.
At the annual wedding anniversary Mass celebrated at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul this past May, Jim and Rose renewed their wedding vows. Joining them were all three of their children and their spouses. Daughter Linda and her husband Ed Loughlin celebrated 35 years of years of marriage; son James Jr. and his wife Lynn, 25 years; and daughter Joan and her husband Ray Sweeney, 16 years.
What has attributed to this family’s marital success? “Our faith in God as well as in each other,” said Jim Devers Sr., the family’s patriarch. “The true foundation of what life is all about is family. Money is fine but money is not everything … family is everything.”
“We love spending time with our family,” said Rose, a proud grandmother of eight. “Especially spending time with our grandkids, we so much look forward to being there as each one makes their first sacraments.”
Jim, a retired accountant, met his bride, then Rose Morris, at Chez Vous Dance Hall, a popular young couples spot at 69th and Market Streets in Upper Darby. What started as a two-year courtship of two West Philadelphia natives blossomed into a strong and loving marriage that has endured six decades.
“My parents are an inspiration,” said Linda Loughlin, the Devers’ oldest daughter. “They are totally devoted to each other. They sustain each other, and they genuinely enjoy each other’s company. In a marriage that’s what you want to aspire to.”
Linda and husband Ed are parents to three children and members of St. Anastasia Parish in Newtown Square, Delaware County. She has wise advice for newlyweds: “Be tolerant with each other. It’s not always easy but you have to realize you are in this for the long haul, and you have to do everything you can to make it the best (it) can be.”
“It’s a lot of give and take; you have to be very supportive of each other,” said Joan Sweeney, the Devers’ youngest child. Joan, a mother of three children and a neurologist at Crozier-Chester Medical Center, said it’s really the small things in life that are important.
“When I was in medical school before Ray and I were married we found out he needed a kidney transplant,” she said. “It was a tough time for us but I think it helped us to see things in a different perspective and to help us value the things in our marriage and family in a different way.”
Rose Devers, who after six decades of marriage still refers to her husband as her “Prince Charming,” believes the success of her marriage is based on taking one day at a time. “You can’t have everything at once, marriage takes patience,” she said.
“Life has its ups and downs,” her husband Jim added. “You’re going to have times of sorrow and times of happiness, but as long as you work together you can get through anything.”
Colleen Boyle Sharp is a freelance writer and photographer, and a parishioner of St. Katherine of Siena Parish in Philadelphia.