Seven decades of bliss for Cowper couple

GIVE AND TAKE: Ray and Gert Connor will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. (below) Ray and Gert about to head off on their honeymoon.
GIVE AND TAKE: Ray and Gert Connor will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. (below) Ray and Gert about to head off on their honeymoon.

AFTER 70 years of marriage, Ray and Gert Connor say the secret to their long and happy marriage is that it is "all about give and take."

Ray and Gert were married in St Paul's Presbyterian Church in Lismore on August 9, 1947 by Reverend James Mortimore. Gert's sister, Marie Olive, was bridesmaid, and Ray's cousin, Ian Benson, was groomsman.

Gert and Ray have lived their entire married life in Cowper, in the house they built on the banks of the Clarence River.

At 94, they are both physically healthy and still self-supporting.

Ray and Gert met aged 21 when Gert, a school teacher, was transferred to Cowper Primary School from Wooli, where she had started her teaching career. At this time, Ray was managing his family's property.

Gert and Ray had three children: Bev (deceased) Pam and Russell, and now have 12 grand- children and 17 great grandchildren.

They have both had a strong involvement in the Clarence community. Ray's two passions, playing cricket and breeding prize Australorp fowls, have played a major part in his local community involvement.

Ray played cricket for many years, both with Lower Clarence and also Easts in Grafton. His last game, with the Golden Oldies, was at the age of 74.

Ray has also been heavily involved in local poultry clubs and has shown prize-winning birds (locally and also throughout Australia) for many years. He is still exhibiting! Ray's book, The Australorp, is highly sought after, within Australia and overseas.

Gert's community involvement has been largely through teaching.

After a break to raise her first two children, Gert returned to work at Lower Coldstream Public School (as sole teacher there) and after several years there, transferred to Ulmarra Public, where she remained until retirement in 1974.

Gert later did some relief teaching, largely at Grafton Infants School, and in South Grafton and Maclean.

Gert has also been a devoted gardener throughout her years in Cowper.

Ray and Gert have also had a strong involvement in the church community, in Cowper, and more recently in South Grafton.

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