Just in time for Valentine’s Day, couple celebrates 50 years of marriage

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - 14:56
  • Sharon and Finis Shelden cut their cake during a 50th anniversary celebration at the Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2015. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)

More than half a century ago, Finis Shelden and Sharon Lee met at a college ball game in Missouri. Before long, they were talking about marriage at a drive-through movie. Last Sunday afternoon, they celebrated their 50th anniversary, surrounded by family and friends in the dining room of the Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center.

“We’ve had our ups and our downs and our ins and our outs and our good times and our bad times, just like everybody else that’s lived long-term here in Alaska,” said Finis, dapper in a suit and boutonniere. “You’ve just got to depend on each other.”

After coming to Alaska with the U.S. Air Force in the ‘70s, the couple settled in Chugiak, raised a son and daughter, planted roots and built careers. They became active in the local Lions Club, the American Legion and the local chamber of commerce. They welcomed six grandchildren; mourned the loss of their son; traveled extensively but always returned to the community they’ve long called home.

To announce their anniversary reception, Finis Shelden placed a noticein the Star. “Love ya Sharon,” he wrote.

Sunday, 18,251 days after they first said their vows, they cut cake and shared a toast.

“We have to count our blessings,” Sharon said.

“We’re the old school,” said Finis. “We stick together.”

To see a video of the couple’s anniversary party, click here:

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