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Local couple renews wedding vows in same Tucson chapel 70 years later

Bowens 70-year anniversary
Posted at 6:50 PM, Aug 02, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Jim and Pat Bowen have been married for 70 years and today, they recommitted to each other, exchanging vows on the Davis-Montham Air Force Base in the same chapel they tied the knot back in 1953.

Pat said it feels like just yesterday they said "I do" at 18 and 21 years old. She maintains that even after seven decades, they "still like and love each other."

The couple met on the base at a Christmas party and quickly fell in love. Both Jim and Pat worked in the education field for most of their adult life, having four kids. They then moved back to Tucson where they've resided full-time since 1990.

“I don’t know anything we would do much differently,” Jim said, while Pat shook her head in agreement. "We're very fortunate."

Close family and friends traveled from all over, some as far as New Zealand, to celebrate the Bowens at an intimate reception at Café à La C'Art downtown. There was cake-cutting, dancing and lining the mantel were large black and white prints of their wedding photos.

Two of Pat and Jim's children were able to make it to the reception, and they said they are so proud of their parents' successful marriage.

"My parents have shown what it means to stick it out, no matter what," daughter Jamie Hoppe said, who lives about six blocks away from the Bowens in Oro Valley. "Above all, they're a connected couple. I mean after 70 years, you have to be. They're just very loving, very caring."

Son Jeff Bowen flew in from Milwaukee for the celebration and said he enjoyed seeing his parents' love story come full circle.

"To where they are now still here, still in Arizona where it all started. And now they've been here 33 years," he said. "We're very close to one another, and we love our parents very much—wholeheartedly."

Pat and Jim say that in addition to keeping humor alive and never going to bed angry, there are a couple of other things to keep in mind for a long-lasting marriage.

"Oh, I would say…let him have his own way,” Pat said.

“And I would say, I do everything she tells me to do when I agree,” Jim followed. "You don't make it this far without compromise.”