Skip to main content
A1 A1
A love that lasts
A lifetime of love: longtime couples share their stories

ELLSWORTH — The American asked four couples who have been married for over 50 years to share their stories and advice this Valentine’s Day.

The Foxes

Family Photo 

Rodney and Cindy Fox in 1965.

Cindy and Rodney Fox have known each other almost their entire lives, and this year will have been married for 58 years. They grew up attending the same church, where even though they were four years apart in age, they interacted often.

“I knew her, but she was little Cindy Shaw. When she went off to college and came back her freshman year … Wow!” Rodney laughed, recalling the moment he realized he liked her.

After seeing her at the local homecoming football game that fall, he was determined to take her on a date. That date finally happened the following spring, where they competed together — and won — in a church treasure hunt. They left the event early to go bowling together, and the rest is history.

The pair got engaged while celebrating Easter. Soon after, they bought their first home together — a four-bedroom home in New Jersey — and had two children. They decided together to move to Maine later in their lives.

“Living with another person for 57 years is a test of your patience and courage and everything else. There are times when you need to really listen … And times when you need to sort of listen.” Cindy said with a chuckle, eliciting a laugh from Rodney as well. “It’s a constant learning experience.”

Rodney credits their success as a couple to numerous things, including their connection to faith, the church, volunteerism, travel and the outdoors, as well as their ability to work as a team.

“I think both of us, in many ways, are strong people in our own right,” Rodney said, “but together, man! We’re a force! I think some of the things that you would consider challenges [in a relationship], I don’t know if we always made the right decision or not, but we were always together in those decisions.”

Cindy’s advice to young couples is simple: date someone you think is kind.

“Marry or live with someone you really like,” she advised. “I had a crush on [Rodney] before he ever noticed me … I thought he was a kind, sweet, caring person.”

“We make each other happy, we keep each other on track. Sometimes you get out and push,” she continued with a laugh, “but we keep each other on track!”

The Reeds

Dartha and Paul Reed will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary this April. They met on a blind date through mutual friends during Dartha’s senior year of college, while Paul was on leave from the military.

“She was only 19, but I knew I better catch her before she finds out there’s really some nice guys out there!” Paul said with a laugh.

Within a year the two were engaged, and within two they were married.

“I’d dated a lot of people, and knew what I wanted. He fit the bill!” Dartha said.

The key to success in their marriage, according to them, is not to argue. By making listening to each other a priority, they are able to talk things out without fighting. The pair even partook in a marriage enrichment class through their church, where instead of speaking, they wrote out how they felt.

“He’s just fun!” Dartha said. “We have a ritual now in our elderly years where we do a word game in the morning, and then we play a game of cribbage before we go to bed at night. That just kind of starts the day, gets the old gray cells going.”

If they were to give advice to couples just starting out, the two soundly agreed with each other.

“Listening to each other is an important part of the whole thing,” Paul said.

“Be patient with each other,” Dartha continued. “You’re learning to live together … It’s a dialoguing back and forth. Sometimes he agrees with me, sometimes I agree with him. It’s communication.”

The Worthens

Dale and Trish Worthen will have been married 56 years this May. They met at the University of Maine, and by the next year they were married.

The two celebrated their first and second anniversaries together in Hawaii, as Dale was in Vietnam during the first years of their marriage. They later had two children together, and moved to Maine from Philadelphia.

“It kind of just worked. It wasn’t that we made it work,” Trish said. “We always laugh together, we raised our kids, and they were interesting kids and now interesting adults … He’s funny, he makes me laugh!”

When asked if she could pick out one thing about Dale she loved, Trish spoke of his kindness. She recalled a moment from when she was still in college and writing a research study; to help her out, Dale had written to people he knew in Washington, D.C., to get information she could use to supplement her paper.

“He was very busy, and it was very kind,” she said.

“You were pretty!” Dale added, making her laugh.

As for advice, the two shared the same thought: be friends with your partner.

“He’s my best friend, and I’m his best friend,” Trish explained. “We always have been. So even though we may not agree on everything, it’s good to have discussion and differences.”

“You take the good with the bad,” she continued. “There’s a light at the end of every tunnel.”

“So far…” Dale added with a laugh.

The Lindquists

John and Kathy Lindquist have been married for 53 years. They met on a skiing trip; John knew his friend was interested in Kathy as well, so made his move by elbowing his friend and ensuring he was on the ski lift with Kathy alone.

“By the time we got to the top, I had a date!” he recalled.

Although they hit it off right away, it was several years before the two were engaged and married.

Kathy went to college in Vermont while John lived in New York, and when she finally moved back there too, he went into the Army.

“We were never in the same place!” Kathy said, laughing. “But we would always go back to going out with each other.”

Throughout the years, John traveled a lot. Their family moved around frequently because of his Army service, and many times, it was just the two of them in a new place when he wasn’t abroad. Kathy credits this dynamic as a part of their strength as a couple.

“When we’d move, we’d come really close together because it was just the two of us,” she explained. “We’d get someplace, meet other people, branch out and make friends, and make a life there, and every few years we’d do that again. We’d really come together, the two of us, to rely on each other.”

“Our oldest daughter told us she thought we were ‘so boring,’ because we never fight!” she continued, laughing. “I thought that was a good thing!”

When asked what advice they would give couples starting out, they both agreed: don’t go in with too many expectations, just go with the flow.

“Don’t overplan … Roll with it,” John said. It’s not about “giving life up to fate,” according to John, but enjoying the timeline of your relationship naturally, without forcing it.

Natalie Sawyer (center left) and Lily Alley (center right) celebrate with teammates after Ellsworth captured its first-ever Class B state cheer title on Saturday, Feb. 11. See story, page 9.

Blue Hill teen finds thrills, chills on the ice

BLUE HILL — Flying 60 miles per hour across the ice on a sleek wooden sailboat may not be everyone’s idea of winter fun.

It is for Milo Fleming.

“It’s exhilarating,” he said. “And there’s an adrenaline rush, too.”

Fleming felt that rush while racing at his fastest two years ago, catapulting across the ice at 66 miles per hour in 35-knot gusts during an endurance race covering 50 miles of Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H.

Now a junior at John Bapst, Fleming fell into the world of iceboating when searching for an independent project as a Bay School eighth-grader. He bought an iceboat off Facebook and found a coach in Bill Bucholz, owner of Apache Boatworks in Camden and president of Chickawauki Ice Boat Club in Rockland, the only one of its kind in Maine.

“Milo’s very driven from within to sail iceboats,” Bucholz said. “I could tell almost immediately that he had ‘it.’ He enjoyed it, he was aggressive, happy to learn, not afraid, and everything fell into place.”

Fleming recently returned from the DN World Championships on Lake Kegonsa in Madison, Wis. — the 12-foot DN is the most popular class of iceboats — where he competed mostly against adults from around the world, many who are internationally ranked. Fleming placed eighth in the Bronze Fleet of 30 boats.

“As one of only six junior sailors out of 100 [total] boats, and the only one from New England, he got quite a crowd rooting for him,” said his mother, Nina Fleming. “His goal was to learn, sail safely and, if he could, to place in the top half of his fleet. So to make the podium was truly fantastic.”

DN iceboats are small and light enough to carry on top of a car, which is how Fleming and his mother traveled to the world championships the last week of January. Iceboaters network across the country in a scattered but strong community of sailors. There are only 17 iceboat clubs in the U.S. and Canada, and Fleming said the strength and support of the community keep him involved, along with the thrills of ice sailing.

His coach agreed. “Iceboating is a unique sport in the ways the competition plays out. It’s not cutthroat. Everyone wants a good race,” Bucholz said.

At times, iceboating can get a little scary, Fleming said. “I have seen people go into the water more than once,” he said. “One bad spot, or a crack in the ice. I went in once but was in a dry suit.”

Because of the inherent dangers in iceboating, Fleming took an ice rescue course before he hit the ice at the direction of his mother.

When racing, sharp runners and an aligned boat are critical, Fleming said. An 8-foot-wide plank on the bottom of a 12-foot fuselage holds two 2- to 3-foot-long runners. The runners are carbon fiber, the one main part of the iceboat that isn’t made of wood, although some iceboats’ masts are also carbon fiber, Fleming noted.

“There’s specific build guidelines for DNs,” he said, “but the rules keep it so you can build one in your garage with basic tools.”

Fleming keeps his skills sharp in the off season by land sailing — think ice boat with wheels — and is heading to Nevada for a land sailing event in April. And come summertime, he teaches the most popular kind of sailing at the Kollegewidgwok Sailing Education Association in Blue Hill.

But iceboating is his first passion, so he’s looking at college in Madison, Wis. “I would like to be a DN racer,” he said.

Former golf course property to be conserved

TRENTON — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded a $1 million grant to Frenchman Bay Conservancy and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for the acquisition of 216 acres of coastal wetlands and adjacent upland habitat in Trenton.

The property, previously the location of the Bar Harbor Golf Course, features over 1 mile of undeveloped shoreline, as well as tidal salt marsh and tidal wading bird and waterfowl habitat. The offshore mudflats are ecologically valuable as well, and mapped by Maine’s Department of Marine Resources as a seed mussel conservation area. Jordan River Bay includes over 1,200 acres of productive softshell clam and blue mussel beds.

“We plan to restore the property’s natural landscape from its past life as a manicured golf course, focusing on marsh migration and the protection of native plant and animal species that are rare, threatened, or endangered and species of concern,” says Aaron Dority, executive director of Frenchman Bay Conservancy. “This is a unique project along the Maine coast and when completed, the preserve will be a resource not only for wildlife, but for the local community. We plan to build trails that highlight the property, while balancing conservation goals, and will ensure shoreline access for local harvesters.”

The property has a north and a south section, and Frenchman Bay Conservancy has plans for each. The northern section of the land, which is open grasslands, will be mostly left as it is with some light maintenance, to be a habitat for various bird species. The southern section has more restoration in its future.

“We want to just let that rewild and either the trees will grow naturally or we could even do some planting as well. In addition to removing any non-native species that are there,” Dority said. “There are various streams on the property that were just essentially bulldozed over years ago that we’d like to open up and restore.”

The southern section is also in need of some waterfront restoration. Frenchman Bay Conservancy is committed to restoring natural water patterns on the former golf course. Part of this process is removing artificially constructed land formations that restrict natural water flow.

“There’s a large berm that separates the pond from the salt marsh and so we’re getting some quotes to remove that and allow the salt marsh to expand into the area that it used to cover,” Dority said.

Sharing this protected area with the community is another goal of Frenchman Bay Conservancy. Public access will be allowed on trails, where visitors can observe the restoration process, and see the landscape return to its natural state.

“Having people witness how the landscape changes and recovers over time,” Dority said. “It’s going to be very gradual changes.”

Frenchman Bay Conservancy hopes to close on the property later this year, but still needs $1 million to make up the remaining balance of acquisition cost, as well as funds for the extensive restoration required for the property, which could amount to a six-figure cost. At this time, additional financial partners include The Nature Conservancy in Maine, Maine Coast Heritage Trust and the Anahata Foundation.

Despite the environmental benefits that would come from restoring and protecting this land, the town of Trenton will take a financial hit from losing tax revenue from development on the property.

“It takes it off the tax rolls, I don’t think it’s beneficial to the town,” said Trenton Select Board Chairperson Fred Ehrlenbach. “The impact on the town is loss of revenue. We have a significant amount of tax exempt properties to begin with.”

The project is one of 21 selected in eight coastal states to protect, restore or enhance nearly 14,000 acres of coastal wetlands and adjacent upland habitats under the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program. Coastal wetlands provide vital services such as flood control, reducing coastal erosion, improving water and air quality and recharging ground water, but are increasingly at risk due to development and climate change.

Frenchman Bay Conservancy officials said they were thankful for the support from U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), vice chair of the Appropriations Committee, and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), chair of the Senate National Park Subcommittee, who announced the award earlier this month.

“Trenton is a beautiful gateway to Mount Desert Island, and protecting its ecological health is critical to the surrounding region, including Acadia National Park,” said Sens. Collins and King in a joint statement. “By preserving more than 200 acres, this conservation project will promote coastal resilience, safeguard native ecosystems and wildlife habitat and provide economic benefits.”

No action taken on joint manager-police chief position at council meeting

ELLSWORTH City Council members opted not to make a motion regarding the possible separation of the city manager and police chief positions currently both held by Glenn Moshier at Monday night’s meeting.

The issue of the joined position was brought up by Councilor Steve O’Halloran, who has for a long time urged for the separation of the roles at the end of Moshier’s contract at the end of this year.

“This is about a position, not a person,” O’Halloran said at the meeting. “Having one person do both jobs…it’s not clear. The lines are blurred.”

Chairperson Dale Hamilton said that it was “premature” and “inappropriate” to begin talking about the separation of the positions when there is still about a year left in Moshier’s contract.

“This is not the council that’s going to be determining any contract negotiations going forward,” Hamilton said. “We cannot bind the next council from making decisions around that, and I think it creates an atmosphere that’s not positive. I don’t think this is the right form for this discussion at this time.”

O’Halloran defended his position, citing his belief that with just a year left on the contract, discussion of splitting the positions should be brought to the public’s attention.

Moshier has held both positions since the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that councilors believed it was the right choice for the city at the time. He added that he believed an “assumption was being made” about his interest in continuing to hold both positions going forward.

“Those of you that are here now were not here when the decision was being made to put me into this position. I was asked repeatedly to do it, it wasn’t anything that I pursued or that I was even remotely interested in initially…The decision was made that it was at the time what was best for the city, and I stand by that decision.”

Councilors on Monday took no action regarding possible separation of the roles, noting that discussion of the city manager position could resume after the election in November.

In other news, the council voted to put a foreclosed house located at 16 5th St. up for auction again following a deadlock vote on the sale at January’s meeting.

The house was formerly owned by Kerry Karst. Councilors at the previous meeting were split on whether to sell the property back to the family or take the highest bid. Councilors Hamilton, Gene Lyons and Tammy Mote voted against the motion to accept the highest bid, while councilors Jon Stein, Casey Hanson and Michelle Beal voted in favor. Councilor O’Halloran was not present.

A motion to reject all bids was passed 4-2 at the January meeting, with councilors Hamilton, Lyons, Mote and Beal voting to approve the motion and councilors Stein and Hanson voting against.

Because the council voted to reject all bids from the previous bidding process, a new sale of some kind is mandated by city ordinance. Chairperson Hamilton motioned to put the home up for public auction with an automatic acceptance of the highest bid, seconded by Councilor Mote. The vote passed 6-1, with O’Halloran being the only councilor to vote no.