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Patrick Rockey’s grandparents honored for their 81-year marriage

Posted at 5:43 PM, Feb 11, 2015

Kansas couple Dale and Alice Rockey have just been honored as one of the longest married couples in the United States. But for NewsChannel 3 Chief Meteorologist Patrick Rockey, they’re just grandpa and grandma.

Dale and Alice are both 99-years-old. They were married on December 29, 1933 in the middle of the Great Depression when they were both teenagers.

They have five sons, and Patrick is one of 15 grandchildren. They also have 28 great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren.

The couple was nominated by one of their sons for Worldwide Marriage Encounter’s “Longest Married Couple Project.” The group received over 375 nominations, but the Rockey’s were announced as the winners on Monday.

A presentation was made to them last Saturday at the retirement home where they live in Olathe, Kansas. FOX 4 News in Kansas City was there as they received the honor.

“I just can’t believe that we’ve went this far,” Dale Rockey told them.

Here's what Patrick has to say about his grandparents:

My grandparents may be the funniest people I know. Most days they wear matching sweatshirts, we’re all pretty sure they invented the phrase “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere,” and we all still laugh about the time that grandma actually carried a turkey carcass home on an airplane so she could make soup with it.

Who knows? Laughter may be their secret.

Love and laughter have probably been the glue holding Alice and Dale Rockey together through the decades. But when I Skyped with them recently, they admitted that it sure wasn't love at first sight.

“We only lived a few blocks apart all our lives,” Alice says.

“And you always thought I was a snot-nosed kid,” Dale says.

In fact, in high school the two were dating other people in their small Nebraska town.

“Dale had his date and I had mine,” Alice says.

But one afternoon, their relationship took a turn.

“He came driving by and said, ‘Want to go for a ride?’” Alice says.

It’s a ride that’s lasted 81 years, through the Great Depression, through 13 presidents, a World War, a Cold War, a moon landing, and five sons.

They were apparently pretty good role models. All the sons are still married to their first wives.

My dad’s the oldest son. He and my mom will celebrate their 60th anniversary next year.

So what’s their secret? Actually, it’s no secret to their family. Grandma Alice has been saying this as long as I can remember… and she means it.

“I told you. I always let him have my way!”