Editor's note: Daisie Beadnell died Wednesday, Jan. 20. Her husband, Bill Beadnell died in June 2015.
ROTTERDAM — In a little red house in Rotterdam lives a couple who have been happily married for nearly 75 years.
Bill Beadnell still gazes at his wife, Daisie, like he just met the girl of his dreams. Daisie returns a sunny smile.
They’re both 97, but you’d never know it.
Daisie Beadnell still cooks most of their meals and her husband still does the dishes.
“What is it I’m always asking for, hon? That casserole dish?” Bill Beadnell asks, and then recalls: “Macaroni and cheese, topped out with strawberry shortcake. I have to beg a little, but I get it quite frequently.”
Both grew up in the small Warren County hamlet of Pottersville, and started “seriously going together” in 1938, Bill Beadnell said.
He recalled taking his future wife to the junior prom. That memory is hazy in Daisie Beadnell’s mind, but she has no trouble remembering their wedding day — April 6, 1940.
“We were married at the Episcopal church in Pottersville at 8 o’clock in the evening. It was a beautiful, warm day,” she recalled.
About a year later, Bill Beadnell took a job with General Electric and the couple moved to the Capital Region.
In 1959, they moved into the bungalow they still call home.
Bill worked as a machinist and then a tool maker. He spent time working on atomic submarines in West Milton.
Daisie Beadnell cleaned houses.
Over the years, two sons were born.
Gary Beadnell, the younger son, credits his parents with his happy childhood and successful adult life.
“[My dad] always worked two or three jobs,” he recounted. “He worked at [Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory] all day, then he’d come home at 4:30. He’d go back to work at 6 o’clock to a machine shop and he’d work ‘til midnight and then he’d get up in the morning at 5 o’clock and get ready and go to work again. And on Saturdays, he’d go work at a nursery. He was working six days a week and he was working a double shift five days a week, but when he came home at 4:30 from working all day, the first thing he did was throw the ball with me.”
Bill Beadnell’s eyes lit up at the memory.
“Gary used to wait for me to come home from work. I’d pitch to him. We had a dog, Tippy. He was our outfielder. When Gary would hit the ball, he would chase it and bring it back to us, but he didn’t want to give the ball up,” he recalled with a laugh.
Gary Beadnell said his mom was always there for him too, fixing his lunch and supporting him however she could.
“They’ve been the best parents that you could have,” he said.
Life hasn’t always been a Norman Rockwell painting for the Beadnells.
Bill Beadnell had a fight with polio that completely drained the couple’s financial resources in 1945 and 1946, but that strain didn’t temper the couple’s devotion to each other.
“She stuck by me until I got back to where I could go back in the shops and earn an independent living again,” Bill Beadnell recalled. Daisie Beadnell said she received plenty of support in return.
“He supported me with his love and we just worked together,” she explained.
Their firstborn son, William, died in 2000.
They focus on the happy memories.
“They were wonderful boys,” Daisie Beadnell said of her sons, recalling their accomplishments.
Seventy-five years of marriage has brought its share of disagreements, she admitted.
“We’ve had a lot of arguments, but we settled them all. You discuss things,” she said.
Her husband agreed, offering this advice to others: “Come to a mutual understanding. Settle it. Don’t let it interfere with your happiness. Always come to a complete decision on anything vital.”
Bill and Daisie Beadnell both get around slowly these days, navigating their neat-as-a-pin residence with the help of walkers. Both are on hospice care, and view it as a positive experience.
“One of the most fascinating things that happened to me since hospice came into our lives was [a hospice worker] asked me how we managed our lives for so many years,” Bill Beadnell recalled. “I said, ‘Well, we just loved and respected each other.’ She said, ‘Well, what does love mean to you?’ I had to stop and think how you’d describe it. It isn’t just a word. It’s total respect and devotion to each other.”
Daisie Beadnell added to that: “We’ve stuck together through thick and thin because we’ve loved one another and we’ve just wanted to be together.”
Their lives are now brightened by six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Another great-grandchild is on the way.
They speak of each day like it’s a gift.
“It’s been an awful good 75 years,” Daisie Beadnell said.
“It only seems like 25 at the most,” Bill Beadnell replied.
“Nobody could do it any better than we do,” Daisie Beadnell said, bringing a smile of agreement to her husband’s face.