North Quabbin natives share their secrets to a 70-year marriage

  • Hugh and Sylvia (Crowl) Lawson, of Phoenixville, Pa., celebrated their 70th anniversary on July 16. Hugh is originally from Warwick and Sylvia grew up in Orange. They met as seniors at Orange High School in 1946. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 9/8/2020 9:28:41 AM

You know how you can be sure you’ve been married a long time? If there is no gift associated with your anniversary in your country.

Although it is known as the platinum anniversary in the United Kingdom, there seems to be nothing in American marital culture to commemorate 70 years. But a quiet celebration at home in Phoenixville, Pa., was just fine with North Quabbin natives Hugh and Sylvia (Crowl) Lawson, who, on July 16, marked seven decades of matrimony. Hugh grew up in Warwick and Sylvia hails from Orange. Both are 92 years old.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had a fight,” Hugh said last week in a telephone interview facilitated by his daughter, Sonja Whelan. “We’ve enjoyed ourselves, that’s for sure.”

Hugh explained he and his bride were students at Orange High School (before it regionalized and became Ralph C. Mahar Regional School), graduating in 1946. They started dating in January of their senior year.

Sylvia went to secretarial school and Hugh joined the U.S. Army for a year and a half, serving with occupation forces in South Korea. Hugh used the GI Bill to attend Clark University in Worcester, where he earned a degree in business administration.

When asked for the secret to a 70-year marriage, Hugh and Sylvia had the same answer: First, pick the right person.

“We made our vows on our wedding day, and we’ve kept them. If it’s not broke, you don’t fix it,” Hugh said. “Always remember, marriage is a two-way street. There isn’t any boss.”

The lovebirds married in 1950 and lived in different spots around Massachusetts. They eventually resided in Dayton, Ohio, and Dallas, Texas, before moving to Pennsylvania in 1992. They have four children and six grandchildren.

Reach Domenic Poli at: or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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