Garden City sweethearts celebrate 60th on Valentine's Day

2/13/2014

By KELTON BROOKS

By KELTON BROOKS

kbrooks@gctelegram.com

Sixty years ago in a farm house in the small town of Lorraine, a couple said, "I do." Fast-forwarding 60 years later, Cliff and Pat Mayo have realized what they did.

"I thought 50 years was long," Cliff said. "But before we knew it, 10 more years went on."

On the blissful day of love that is Valentine's Day, the Mayos are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.

But if you ask Pat about those two words she uttered in the small town of Lorraine on Feb. 14, 1954, she would tell you she never saw this day coming.

"It was not even a thought of that," Pat said as she laughed. "It was the furthest thing from my mind."

The couple first crossed paths in 1952, when they both attended Kansas State University and worked extensively with 4-H.

With 4-H, the two won a trip to the American Royal in Kansas City with a group of 300 to 400 kids and got acquainted with each other.

"He was a freshman in college and nice looking, so, that part was good. But I wasn't thinking about 60 years at that moment," Pat said as she laughed.

The next year, Cliff's father suffered a heart attack, so he left school to help his father with their Finney County farm. Pat followed him.

"In those days, you were taught to get married and never look at the possibility of divorce, and we never gave it a thought," Cliff said.

The two have been in Garden City ever since, and these days reside in Southwind. But before Southwind, the couple had moved three times. They started out in an adobe house.

Pat chuckled at the thought of the mud and brick house.

"Now we have a nice brick home — a whole lot better than that adobe house," she said.

Cliff and Pat have three children and eight grandchildren. One of their grandchildren, Wendy Mayo, said her grandparents have been role models and a gift to the family.

"They have been a foundation for our family as a couple and as individuals," she said. "They have inspired all of us. They live a life of faith, and they are the example of what a successful marriage looks like."

Cliff and Pat look at their marriage as a true partnership that has helped them get to 60 years.

"We've always had each other's back. It's a partnership. It doesn't work unless your partner works with you. She has been a big influence in my life, and I was fortunate to find someone who would put up with me," Cliff said.

"Of course, we have had our ups and downs, and a lot of times have been better than others," Pat said. "But that's just life. You have to consider your partner in everything you do."

Pat added two more ways to explain how they have reached 60 years of marriage, "good humor and God's intentions," she said.

"It's a lot easier to remember since it's on Valentine's Day," she said as she laughed.

Cliff Mayo has been a county commissioner for 17 years and was voted into the Garden City High School Hall of Fame. The couple attend the First United Methodist Church at Kansas Avenue and Main Street, where Pat is actively involved with the Methodist leaders.

To celebrate their anniversary, a reception and supper will be held at their home for family and friends. Cliff is going to smoke some ribs, Pat said.

A 60-year marriage is a long time, and the Mayos wish to count more anniversaries. To do so, Pat said a certain virtue is needed.

"Patience," she said. "Be patient with each other, and be patient with yourself."

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