Fred and Gerry Forder will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary on Nov. 21. (Barb Romans/Special to The News)

Fred and Gerry Forder will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary on Nov. 21. (Barb Romans/Special to The News)

Maple Ridge couple to celebrate 60 years together

Fred and Gerry Forder got married Nov. 21, 1960 in New Westminster

A Maple Ridge couple has proven diamonds are forever as they make plans to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on Saturday.

Fred and Gerry Forder, met each other in Coquitlam at the Essondale School of Psychiatric Nursing in 1959 at Essondale Hospital now known as Riverview Hospital.

Fred, originally from Rossland, B.C., received a one-way bus ticket to the school along with his enrollment papers from his mother who was upset at his rowdy-ways and inability to find a job after graduating from high school.

When she handed him the ticket she told him the bus was leaving in an hour.

“I left home with my guitar and my black leather jacket and a little suitcase of clothes and the papers she had all signed up for me to go,” said the 81-year-old.

At the time, the government paid students of the program $200 a month to take the course and also gave them free room and board.

“I guess she thought that was a prime opportunity to get my feet back on the ground,” he said.

RELATED: Shepherds celebrate 70th wedding anniversary

However, his mother gave him more than he could have anticipated.

Fred was in the class ahead of Gerry.

“I always had my eye on her in the cafeteria when she walked by,” said Fred.

Gerry, 80, originally from Mission, admitted she didn’t initially notice Fred, but after three months of meeting in the cafeteria she knew he was the one for her.

They probably first met at one of the school dances, explained Fred.

However, he still remembers the day he was out driving with a friend by Essondale and noticed Gerry and a friend in a marshy area by the side of the road.

“She was picking bulrushes with her girlfriend,’ he said. They stopped the car and the rest, of course, was history.

Fred and Gerry bonded over dancing. They took courses together in ballroom dancing, tango and foxtrot, and the cha-cha-cha.

Fred tried to teach Gerry how to play tennis.

RELATED: Maple Ridge couple celebrates 70th wedding anniversary

“But that was sort of like banging my head against the wall,” he said, Gerry sitting beside him.

“She knows she wasn’t too good at the sport,” he chuckled.

They fell in love with each other, explained Fred, by doing as much as they could together.

The couple got married Nov. 21, 1960, halfway through the two year nursing program, in a tiny wedding ceremony at United Church in New Westminster. They had the first of their three children soon after.

Fred worked as a psychiatric nurse for five years before returning to school at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in the building technology program. He worked for a private company for a couple of years before being hired at the City of Burnaby as a plan checker and building inspector. After a brief period of renting a lodge on Gabriola Island with his sister, he returned to the City of Burnaby in the maintenance department where he was in charge of maintenance work in all city buildings.

Gerry left the nursing program when she first became pregnant, but entered the workforce again, about 10 years later, as a nurse’s aid at Royal Columbian Hospital, a hairdresser and when all three children were in school, she got a job at The Bay where she became a supervisor.

Fred was first to retire in 2000. Gerry retired six months later.

“She retired from that after she saw me sitting at home every time she would come home struggling. She said that’s enough,” said Fred.

And for the past 33 years the couple have explored another passion together – travelling. In July 1987 they went on a European vacation together.

They have since visited 68 countries – China and the continent of Africa being the most exciting.

“We just rumbled along,” said Gerry of their life together.

Fred and Gerry will be celebrating their wedding anniversary quietly, due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, on Saturday, Nov. 21.

“We might go out to dinner, just us,” said Gerry.

However, they attribute their lasting relationship to their ability to give and take with one another.

“Being able to compromise, I would think is the best secret. And stand by each other,” said Fred.

“Never go to bed mad,” added Gerry.

Fred and Gerry have three children – Mike, Barb and Jason – five grandchildren and three great grandchildren


 

cflanagan@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

maple ridge

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil Friday evening (May 7) to remember 29-year-old corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, who was killed in last weekend’s brazen daylight shooting outside North Delta’s Scottsdale Centre mall. (James Smith photo)
Hundreds gather to remember victim of North Delta shooting

Corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, was killed in what police say was a targeted incident

Students across school district watched videos and did activities geared towards mental health. (Special to The News)
National day of mental health marked by Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows school district

Child and Youth Mental Health Day started by FamilySmart in 2007

Annette Code passed away in 2017. (Special to The News)
A special room at Pitt Meadows Museum dedicated to Code

Annette Code was a long-time museum volunteer, school board trustee

Flags flown at half mast out front of Fraser Regional Correctional Centre for slain corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa. (Neil Corbett/ The News)
Public vigil and flying flags at half mast done to honour slain prison guard

Maple Ridge corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, is being remembered in a number of ways

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Mandeep Grewal was gunned down outside an Abbotsford bank in October 2018. Police said a violent gang war to control drug-line territory was going on at that time. Drug charges have now been announced against seven people. (FILE PHOTO: John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
7 people face 38 charges related to gang drug activity in Abbotsford and Mission

Police say investigation began in 2018 into expansion of Brothers Keepers’ drug line

Most Read