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Perham couple shares story on Valentine's Day

Ruth and Earl Miller celebrated their 65th anniversary on Dec. 31, 2010. Ruth was named queen of Valentine's Day for the Timbergrove section of PMHH.

For two straight years, Ruth and Earl Miller have been named the royalty of Valentine's Day for the Timbergrove section of the Perham Memorial Hospital and Home.

For 65 years, they've been husband and wife.

Ruth, turning 86 this month, and Earl, 92, celebrated their 65th anniversary on Dec. 31, 2010. They were married in Erskine, Minn., on New Years Eve, 1945, after Earl got out of the navy.

Their relationship started in 1942 when Ruth was rooming with Earl's sister while working as a nurse's aid in the Bemidji, Minn. hospital. At the time, Early was serving in the navy in Bermuda.

The roommates took turns writing Earl, Ruth said, even though she had never personally met him before.

Ruth's letters made an impression, because during one of Earl's visits home, he and his father came to meet Ruth.

"Earl and I met on the steps of the Bemidji hospital," she said. "His father later told him that he should marry me."

The writing continued while Earl was in the navy, and Earl would visit Ruth when he returned home. During the three and a half years of his service, he and Ruth saw each other only five times.

During one such visit, on a trip to go dancing in St. Paul, Earl proposed in the back of a taxi. Ruth said yes.

On New Years Eve, after he had gotten out of the service, they were married.

Ruth remembered the night of their marriage as being extremely cold.

"We managed to make it to Bemidji that night, even though the heater in the car wasn't working," she said. "And that's where we spent our first night together."

After being in the navy, Earl worked in the creamery business, and one year was named the most outstanding butter maker in all of Minnesota. Ruth worked for a few years in a nursing home in Twin Valley.

Now Valentine's royalty at PMHH (Ruth was named queen this year, and Earl was named king in 2010), the two said that they never did much to celebrate Valentine's Day.

"We worked all the time," Ruth said. "But some years we probably went downtown and had dinner or something."

Ruth and Earl have four children, six grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. One of their sons died from cancer in 2001.

"Our kids are so good to us," Ruth said. "We have such a good family."

Ruth and Earl said that they don't really have a secret for a lasting marriage, except for talking to each other.

"We've never had a lot of money, but we always talked things over," Ruth said. "We disagree sometimes, but we've had a happy marriage."

The five visits they had before getting married ended up lasting 65 years, Earl said.

"It turned out pretty well," he added, smiling.