Love has conquered all for 75 years

What’s love got to do with it? For Doyal and Kay Gudgel, who recently celebrated their 75th year of marriage, it’s everything.

Doyal and Kay met in 1940 when they attended Ballard High School in Seattle. Kay shared a locker with Doyal’s sister, and that’s how they were introduced.

Their first date was Valentine’s Day of that same year. Doyal showed up with a bouquet of carnations. They were married exactly one year later on Valentine’s Day of 1941 at a Methodist church in Seattle at the age of 19 years old.

They started their family, but Doyal had to go off to war in 1944-45 and left Kay at home to manage their household. After he returned from war, he was a small-business owner and also worked for the old channel 11 TV news. Kay remained a stay-at-home mom to their four children – Diane, Tom, Robin and Bob. Kay was also an excellent dancer and very adventurous, according to Doyal, who said they did a lot of boating in Alaska over the years. Today they have not only their children but also five grandchildren and seven great-grandkids.

“The older we get, the more I love Kay. I want to do everything for her,” said Doyal, who adds that the secret to their marriage is that they overlook the little things.

Kay was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease about 10 years ago. It was necessary for her to move into Cascade Park Gardens Memory Care Community in Tacoma in 2013. Doyal was experiencing physical issues and moved into Cascade Park Vista Assisted Living, a short distance away. For the first time since the war, they were living separately. That was no obstacle for Doyal, though, as he has visited Kay every day since their separation by taking the shuttle from Cascade Park Vista to Cascade Park Gardens.

They are crazy about each other, and Doyal says that in spite of her disease, she still remembers him. And if she could communicate, he is sure she would thank him for his loyalty.

“My favorite thing about Kay is that she is the type of person I always wanted to be. She has never harmed anyone. So kind and gentle,” Doyal said.

"The older I get, the more I love Kay," Doyal Gudgel says of his bride of 75 years.
“The older I get, the more I love Kay,” Doyal Gudgel says of his bride of 75 years.