2012-02-08 / Front Page / Weddings/Engagements / Misc / Briefly Noted

Secrets of Valentine Veterans

By Tim Greco


Above: Happily married, Mackey and Betty Budney. Below: Blissful couple Ray and Ann Champlin. 
Photo Provided Above: Happily married, Mackey and Betty Budney. Below: Blissful couple Ray and Ann Champlin. Photo Provided “Life’s greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved.” —Victor Hugo

Valentine’s Day is the tried and true opportunity to express your feelings toward someone you love.

So we asked some of Philipstown’s most seasoned married couples to share what the key is to their success and longevity.

Eighty-year-old Ray and 73-year-old Ann Champlin married in 1955. Ray first met Ann at her hometown in Beacon at a café. It was a local hot spot conducive to dancing, as he recalled.

Was it love at first sight? Ray said: “Well, she had this way of dancing that attracted my attention, and I thought she must have very good coordination,” he said, then added: “I’m an athlete so that’s what caught my attention.”


Tim Greco Tim Greco They married when Ray had just returned home from Germany, where he served in the Army, and a few days later started teaching math at Haldane. Ann was in nursing school; she since went on to earn her doctorate.

What is the secret to their long marriage? Ray said, “Having a solid family background and having parents who sacrificed for their children. Also, divorce was never an option.”

Ann said: “You need to have basic core values, like a religious orientation, a sense of humor, a lot of patience, and giving 100 percent of yourself.” She then smiled and ribbed Ray: “I mean if each person would give 100 percent that would be nice.”

Meanwhile, Mackey and Betty Budney are Cold Spring fixtures.

Mackey met Betty in 1948 at the train underpass in Cold Spring railroad depot. He said to his future bride, “You’re very pretty; where are you going, doll?”

Betty promptly told him to “mind your business, wise guy, and get out of my way!”

When she walked away, Mackey said to himself, “I’m going to marry that girl.”

Eventually, she could not resist his charms. They were married in 1951. As Mackey put it, “we have been dating ever since.”

What made their marriage work? Betty said, “All marriages have their ups and downs, but you have to work at it.”

Mackey put it this way: “It works because of all the fussing and fighting, kissing and hugging.”

How about any advice for newlyweds? Mackey said, “Cooperation is key” and “give a little and take a little.”

Betty added, “Make sure you are in love and be sure this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Stick together and work through it.”

Betty also said they have learned through the years to never make big financial decisions without coming to an agreement together.

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