By Dan Walton
Shortly after Ed and Anne Ackerman moved to Oliver in 2007, they attended the Oliver Seniors Centre’s 50-Plus Tea, where the annual tradition of crowning the longest-standing local couple as the King and Queen takes place.
Back then, Oliver’s King and queen had been together for 67 ears. “It’ll be forever until we get there,” Ed remembers thinking at the time.
Forever has finally arrived for the Ackermans.
In their 65th year together as a couple, Ed and Anne were crowned King and Queen at this year’s 50-Plus Tea at the Oliver Senior Centre.
“I married a very patient man,” said Anne. “She put up with a lot,” Ed said. “I think we both did,” Anne replied.
Each year, the local couple that has been married for the longest is crowned the King and Queen of Oliver (as long as they haven’t been crowned in the past).
With the Ackerman couple claiming this year’s title, Ed is now a second-generation King of Oliver.
His parents, after 67 years of marriage, were the Town’s King and Queen of 1996.
For any younger couples aspiring to one day be the King and Queen of Oliver, “You just have to live a long time,” Anne joked. “That’s the best answer I ever heard.”
However, that advice has to be embraced from an early age.
“My son’s not going to get crowned – he waited too long to get married,” she said.
Over the years, the vows that Ed made to Anne on their wedding day have been cited countless times, but there were no promises he couldn’t handle.
“So far so good,” he said.
The two first crossed paths in the late 1940s when they met at a house party. Was it love at first sight?
“Pretty much for me – I don’t know about her,” Ed chuckled.
“We just hit it off and we always did,” Anne said. “Sometimes you just know.”
Ed and Anne have four children together, three girls and a boy. Their family home was on a small hobby farm in the Kettle Valley, and they raised pigs and chickens as livestock, as well as horses, cats and dogs as pets.
“I was going to be a rich cattle rancher when I was a teenager,” Ed remembers thinking before reality sunk in. “I right away seen there was no money in farming. You have to really like it.”
Shortly after becoming empty-nesters, Ed and Anne decided to get rid of their animals and begin trotting the globe.
After visiting dozens of countries, they’ve fallen in love with Fiji, where one of their daughters now lives; they visited another daughter several times in Alaska; and they had a memorable trip through the Panama Canal. Ed especially likes tropical destinations where he can go snorkeling.
Upon reflection, they feel blessed to have grown up in the era that they did.
“I think we lived through the better times – I think you guys are going to have the worst times coming up as far as the world goes,” Ed said.
“You could go anywhere and get a job if you wanted to move,” Anne recalled about the olden days. “Things were just good by comparison. We always had enough food. You didn’t have to worry about walking down the street alone at night.”
Nowadays, Ed and Anne “just do normal things.” They enjoy playing pool and cards with friends; excursions to the casino; and catching the odd fl ick at the Oliver Theatre “It’s really nice to live here,” Anne said “You get to mix with lots of different groups.”