Couple celebrates 70 years of wedded bliss at Shorewood party
By Jaime Angio For Sun-Times Media January 29, 2012 9:46PM
James and Mary McTague. | Jaime Angio~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 1, 2012 8:42AM
A chance meeting in June of 1941 paved the way of a life spent together for James and Mary McTague.
The 93-year-old couple celebrated 70 years of marriage on Sunday with over fifty friends and family members at the Timbers of Shorewood Assisted Living Center in Shorewood, where they live.
Mary remembers that day in June, like it was yesterday. It was at her sister Edna’s wedding, when she met then 22-year-old James McTague.
The best man was unable to make it to the ceremony, so McTague stepped in, and Mary took notice.
“Oh, I thought he was pretty good looking,” she said. They started dating shortly after that. McTague would write her letters during the week, and on the weekends, he went to Chicago to pick Mary up from her job at a jewelry store on Michigan Avenue and brought her back home to Joliet to spend time together.
McTague courted Mary by taking her out for dinners and dancing. He then planned a memorable date, that would end up solidifying the direction they were heading.
“He told me was going to take me up in an airplane,” she said. “I told him I wasn’t sure I wanted to go, but I didn’t resist, I felt safe with him.”
Mary and James headed to the Joliet airport, where they boarded a Cub plane for a ride in the sky. Shortly after that, the couple became engaged and were married 6 months later. They would have married sooner however, but the couple postponed their original wedding plans following the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
They didn’t wait too long. The McTague’s were married on Jan. 31, 1942 at the Cathedral of St. Raymond’s Nonnatus Church in Joliet.
The couple moved into an apartment. McTague worked for Joliet Arsenal and Mary became a homemaker. They started a family, and after five children, the couple needed more living space.
The McTague’s family doctor loaned them $3500 to buy land and build a house. They took residence on Kelly Avenue in Joliet, where they went on to raise five more children.
The couple now have 57 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren.
With 70 years of marriage together, Mary McTague said what kept them going all the years, was the act of forgiveness and that James was always husband material.
“He just made for a really good husband,” she said. “I felt real secure with him and he took care of me and our family and we’re always forgiving of one another.”