Diamond celebration for Comox Valley couple celebrating 75 years of marriage

Bud Tarling admits he’s relatively shy.

He is so thankful that for a fleeting moment near the elevator in the Empress Hotel in 1941, standing next to a girl named Joan, he went with his gut, and his heart won over his shyness.

“I don’t know what got into me,” says the 96-year-old Comox Valley resident with a laugh from his home at the Comox Valley Seniors Village.

“I impulsively put my arms around her and gave her a kiss. She didn’t object.”

Fast forward to earlier this week, and Bud and his wife Joan, 94, who is in residential care at the complex, celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary with friends and family and enjoyed a piece of cake from a replica of their original wedding cake from 1942.

• • •

Around age 16, Bud – an orphan who was raised by his aunt – joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. After his initial posting in Vancouver, he moved to Victoria.

In 1941, the air force authorized a gala dance at the Empress, a dance which he and his best friend Nick were planning on attending.

“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that every young girl in the city was looking for a date (to the dance).”

Nick was the chairman of the decorating committee, and in an effort to find a Royal Canadian Air Force flag, he made his way to way to a Woolworth’s store on Douglas Street.

It was there he saw “a beautiful young woman at the door working there preventing late shoppers from getting in,” explains Tarling. Nick asked Joan to the dance, and they exchanged phone numbers.

Darling, who admits he had “a casual girlfriend” at the time, rented a room with his best friend at the hotel in order to have a place for their dates to leave their jackets and purses behind.

The Tarlings on their wedding day – Sept. 26, 1942.

During what Tarling, then 21-years-old, specifically recalls was the fourth dance, he and Nick switched partners and he asked Joan if she would like to dance to another song.

“She told me that she wanted to up to the room first to get some Kleenex out of her purse, so I asked her if it would be okay if I came with.”

It was there, waiting for the elevator to go up to the room, where Tarling leaned in and gave her a kiss.

Then he had some explaining to do.

“I was beginning to feel quite guilty because I was thinking I’m in love with this girl, but she was Nick’s date. One night, about a month and a half later, I asked Nick ‘are you serious about Joan?’ He asked me why would I ask him that question, and I told him I think I’m in love with her.”

Nick told Tarling they weren’t serious, which “made me feel like I was 20 years younger. And I was 20 then. So we switched,” he adds with a laugh.

A year later, when a Tarling found out he was being posted to Tofino, he decided he didn’t want to leave his girlfriend behind, so he asked Joan to marry him. The couple married on Sept. 26, 1942.

• • •

Looking back at their 75 years of marriage together, Tarling says all he can think of – beginning with their very first dance – is that they just seemed “to fit.”

The couple has three children – Carol, Bob and Pat – seven grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

“I just love (Joan) her so dearly,” notes Tarling. “We’ve had a wonderful life. I’ve basically been on my own after I was orphaned at age 10 and my family grew thanks to Joan, from one to 39 (counting spouses.) It’s been a wonderful, wonderful experience.”

As for marriage advice, Tarling offers five tips:

“One, pick the right girl. Two, love. Remember things like anniversaries, birthdays and other things that show your love. Three, compromise. Marriage is a 50/50 proposition, and you want to make sure you don’t end up 95/five. Four, morality. There’s no cheating.”

And as for number five?

“Keep breathing. That might be the most important,” he adds with a laugh.

Just Posted

Esquimalt council green-lights first mass-timber building on Vancouver Island

Mayor appreciates 12-storey structure’s proximity to naval base, graving dock and Seaspan

Greater Victoria School District adopts new dress code policy

Two years in the making, SD61 moves to more inclusionary guidelines

Legal action against B.C. specualtion tax a last resort

Group of Arizona home owners feel they’ve been swept up in an attack on land speculators

Rock the Rink gives youth once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Winning band will get to play a set at Rock the Shores

Sooke makes call for regional fire dispatch

Some municipalities decide to take service off-Island

Parents call for change to health laws after Oak Bay teen’s death

Accidental overdose has Elliot Eurchuk’s parents seeking change to B.C Infants Act

Amalgamation Yes hosting citizen’s assembly info meeting Wednesday at Vic High

Mayors of Victoria and Saanich will be on hand to give updates to residents

EDITORIAL: Greater Victoria amalgamation no magic bullet

Taxpaying citizens need to ask tough questions of both sides in debate

Doctor sees healing power in psychedelic plant as Peru investigates death of B.C. man

Peru’s attorney general has ordered the arrest of two suspects in the killing of 41-year-old Sebastian Woodroffe

Toronto police officer ‘gave himself the space and time’ in van attack

Footage shows officer standing up, turning off his siren and talking clearly to the suspect

$1.18 to $1.58 a litre: Are you paying the most for gas in B.C.?

Gas prices across B.C. vary, with lowest in Vernon and highest in – you guessed it – Metro Vancouver

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of April 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Inquest set 10 years after B.C. woman shot, left to die

Lisa Dudley, and her partner, Guthrie McKay were shot in their Mission home in September 2008

B.C. hockey team to retire Humboldt Bronco victim’s number

BCHL’s Surrey Eagles to retire Jaxon Joseph’s No. 10 in light of bus tragedy

Most Read