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Long-time Love

Johnstown couple has been married for 72 years

February 14, 2010
By JOEL DiTATA, The Leader-Herald

JOHNSTOWN - This Valentine's Day, Matthew and Mary Goot will have something not even the most romantic gift giver can offer - 72 years of marriage.

Matthew, 93, and Mary, 92, were married Nov. 13, 1937. They live in the house Matthew built in 1967 on an acre of land on Meadow Street. Their living room has a combination of new and old. Their flat-screen TV is outlined with old photos. Although they own two computers, the couple still reads two newspapers a day.

Even after more than seven decades of marriage, the couple said they have never had an argument - not even once.

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Joel DiTata

Mary Goot and her husband of 72 years, Matthew, sit in their favorite recliners while watching TV at their home in Johnstown.

"We never fight," Mary said. "We never had any fights or anything."

"We just get along, sometimes you just have to give and keep quiet," Matthew said. "You have to bite your tongue."

They both agreed that living through the Great Depression has taught them to not worry about material possessions, which they believe can destroy most marriages.

"I tell my grandchildren all the time, 'We lived through the Great Depression.' We didn't have television, cell phones, electric lights, we didn't have any of that," Matthew said. "I had two or three jobs at a time. I never made great money, but I always had jobs."

Mary said she could recall the amount of money they both made per hour years ago - Matthew made 35 cents and she made 20.

"We made next to nothing back then," Mary said. "It is relevant with the times, but the Great Depression was much worse than anything today."

Matthew, who retired in 1981, said he was a maintenance man that "had to do everything." He also worked at a bowling alley fixing equipment and drilling holes for the bowling balls. Mary, who retired in 1978, said she used to work at a glove shop, making and selling gloves.

"I was lucky to make $15 a week compared to $15 an hour," Matthew said smiling. "You had to learn how to do everything - if not someone else would. I learned how to take care of myself."

Matthew and Mary were both forced to retire due to health conditions at the time. Matthew, who uses a walker to move around the house, was forced to retire due to a heart attack. Mary suffered from bleeding ulcers and had bypass surgery.

The Goots said they feel "tremendously lucky" to still be alive and healthy today after knowing countless friends and family members who have passed away.

"Outside of arthritis, I can't complain," Mary said jokingly. "I laughed when I got my licensed renewed last because I didn't think I would be here in 2010."

Matthew is extra appreciative of his health because of all the teammates on sports teams he has acquired throughout the years. A proud bowler of a perfect game and of two holes-in-one in golf, he said all the players from all of the teams he ever played on are now gone, except for him.

"The things I miss the most are bowling and golfing, but I just can't do it at my age," Matthew said.

Matthew joined the Army in 1934 because of the need for a job. He served for three years and then was out until he was drafted back into the service in 1945 for the last year of World War II.

Mary said although it was difficult to have her husband in Germany, she kept busy with their two children. The goots have a son, Michael Goot, 69, who lives in Spain, and had a daughter, Evelyn Ann Johnson, who died at the age of 58. They also have six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

The couple said they don't have any plans for Valentine's Day because only Mary is licensed to drive and she cannot see well at night. Although they will not be taking part in any Valentine's Day festivities, Mary said she keeps up with the prices of jewelry.

"I still have the original wedding band from Matt, it's solid gold," Mary said flashing her finger. "He paid $5 for it."

That was a moment when Matt did have to bite his tongue.

Joel DiTata can be reached by email at



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