St. George couple celebrates 75th anniversary

L-R Mary and Gene on their wedding day, Capitola, California, June 29, 1940 | Photo courtesy of Janet Carter, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – A St. George couple celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary Monday. The Hopkins, Gene, 97, and Mary, 95, celebrated 75 years of marriage Monday and their family wishes to congratulate them on this momentous occasion.

If we turn the calendar back 75 years ago to the their fortuitous meeting the story is something like this:

L-R Gene and Mary, location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Janet Carter, St. George News
L-R Gene and Mary, location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Janet Carter, St. George News

Mary who is the first and only daughter of Italian immigrant parents who came to California at the turn of the 19th Century. Each of her parents sailed here at different times, but because their families were from a remote part of northwest Italy, a small village named San Michele Prazzo in the Piedmonte region, they met as their respective families contacted one another here. Her parents were married after her father completed military service for the United States during WWI. Gene’s family immigrated to the United States from Saskatchewan, Canada also at the turn of the century.

Mary was able to attend school until she was about 16 and then needed to help her parents financially. As she sought work in the Bay Area of San Francisco, she became quite accomplished in a bakery.

Meanwhile Gene due to his own father’s abilities as a baker had found employment in a competing bakery which was on the same street in Redwood City, California where Mary worked. They met through some cousin connections (not at the bakeries) and were married in the small village of Capitola, California on June 29, 1940. Gene’s oldest brother who was a Catholic priest performed their wedding ceremony.

They were both diligent workers and in those early years of 1940 were already buying a home and building a nest until Gene was drafted into the Army. In 1944 on the day their first child was born, he had to leave to travel east to deploy to the western front of the European theater. Those were tremulous years and his safe return was truly an answer to many prayers. He came home in 1946 on a ship that took three long weeks to cross the Atlantic due to January’s stormy weather.

So that was their beginning — in the mid 1950s Gene and Mary met missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to whom they are forever grateful for bringing the restored gospel to their family. They have three children, 18 grandchildren and presently 61 great-grandchildren. Gene is 97 and Mary 95 and they currently reside in St George, but still have their home of 50 plus years in Soquel, California.

This milestone of 75 years must be attributed to their desire to serve and continue to serve over so many years; the number of people who have enjoyed their rustic and genuine hospitality is huge and their family are grateful for the legacy they have taught and exemplified. Recently, Mary was asked just how she has enjoyed these 9 plus decades and after a few minutes of thought replied,:

“It’s gone by WAY too fast; we’ve been gipped!”

They have loved the lives they have been given that is for certain.

Ed. note: Updated to include Gene and Mary’s last name, Hopkins.

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1 Comment

  • rebeloutlier June 30, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Wonderful. ..but nowhere in the article does it state the FAMILY name of the couple or the FAMILY name of her parents…only “Gene and Mary ” throughout. Is there a reason for the anonymity?

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