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SIMI VALLEY : Couple Celebrate 70 Years of Marriage

In the 70 years since Joel Nordstrom proposed to his wife Edith, only one other woman ever shared his affections--his mother.

“They say you can always tell how a man is going to treat his wife by the way he treats his mother,” Edith Nordstrom said Monday, a day after the Simi Valley couple celebrated the anniversary of their marriage on Sept. 5, 1921, in Arlington, N. J. “And he was real good to her.”

The 97-year-old retired pastor and his 92-year-old wife lived together all those years and raised two children “without ever going to bed angry,” their daughter said. They also have six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

“They’re a couple of forgivers,” said daughter Ruth Lamar, a 61-year-old retired nurse. “I don’t remember them having a fight.”

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According to family members, the couple has the third-longest marriage in Southern California. But they will have to hold out for another 17 years to top the 86-year record held by two couples listed in the Guiness Book of World Records, Lamar said.

That goal may be feasible. The Nordstroms are fit and have suffered no serious ailments. They have lived on a vegetarian diet since they were married.

“We don’t drink coffee or tea,” Edith Nordstrom said. “I think we may be the oldest health nuts around.”

Their 68-year-old son, Edward, who is a medical doctor, said heredity is a reason that his parents have lived so long.

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“My father’s grandfather was about 100 and my mother had some relatives that lived into their 90s,” said Edward Nordstrom, a radiologist at Camarillo State Hospital.

Religious faith has also played a role in the couple’s long relationship, they said.

“It’s not easy to stay mad at someone when you’re praying all the time,” Lamar said.

The couple have lived all over the country, moving 28 times during their marriage--Joel Nordstrom was a traveling evangelist for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They have lived in Simi Valley for 20 years.

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