By Sean Barron
For about an hour, nearly 8,000 years of wedded bliss could be found under one roof.
Sharing more than 140 of those years were two couples.
“We met in high school. When we got married, I was 18 and he was 21,” Madelyn Pedaline, 89, fondly recalled, referring to having gotten hitched to her husband, Carl Pedaline, after they had attended East High School in Youngstown.
Seventy-one years, three children, seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren later, the Youngstown couple remains happily married.
The Pedalines were among 166 couples from Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana, Ashtabula, Stark and Portage counties who renewed their vows during Sunday’s annual Wedding Anniversary Mass and Celebration at St. Columba Cathedral, 159 W. Rayen Ave.
A standing-room-only crowd came to the gathering, which honored couples who have been married between 25 and 75 years. In all, the ceremony celebrated 7,954 years of marriage.
Carl and Madelyn Pedaline were one of two couples who have 70 or more years of marriage under their belts. A couple who were married 75 years ago didn’t attend.
Carl Pedaline, 93, spent nearly 70 years in the heating business, including having been a heating inspector for the city of Youngstown. For roughly 25 years, Madelyn was a teller for the former Dollar Bank.
“We’ve got a beautiful family. They’re there to help us if we need anything,” Madelyn said, adding that the couple may have occasional disagreements but never go to bed angry with each other.
Just behind the Pedalines are Louis and Dorothy Pizzuto of Liberty Township, who have been married close to 70 years.
Dorothy, a longtime homemaker who helped raise the couple’s two children, recalled having met her husband when they attended Wilson High School. On July 21, 1945, she married Louis, a retired machinist who worked many years for Commercial Intertech in Youngstown.
“We’re compatible; we get along,” Dorothy said nonchalantly when asked about her secret for the couple’s longevity.
She also has spent time volunteering on behalf of various area fundraiser dinners and other church functions, as well as during local elections, Dorothy said.
Last Friday, Alexandria DiPanfilo of Leetonia enjoyed a double celebration: her birthday and 67th anniversary with her husband, Dan DiPanfilo.
“He loved to dance and I loved to dance,” Alexandria said in describing how they met. “He followed me around, and one day I said, ‘That’s the guy for me.’”
Dan recalled his longtime career in the dry-cleaning business, including having managed a few locations owned by the late Lou Groza, the former Cleveland Browns offensive tackle and kicker.
In addition, he served three years in the Air Force working with navigation equipment as well as about eight years as an insurance agent with Equitable Life Insurance Co.
“He’s a jack-of-all-trades,” said Alexandria, who also remembered many good times the couple had dancing at Idora Park to the music of Gene Krupa, Vaughn Monroe and others from the Big Band era.
Making Sunday’s occasion even sweeter for the DePanfilos was that three of their six sons attended, including one from Baltimore.
“You are an example of God’s love to the world,” Bishop George V. Murry of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, said before he had the couples renew their vows and blessed them with holy water.
The Gospel reading was from Mark 4:26-34, which offers a parable comparing God’s kingdom to a mustard seed. Such a seed is the world’s smallest, yet is able to outgrow any garden plant and prosper.
Expounding on that theme was the Rev. Peter Polando, who delivered the homily.
The Rev. Mr. Polando, St. Columba’s rector, used characteristics of the four seasons, as well as the slow growth of plant seeds he recently planted, as metaphors for growing, developing and cultivating strong marriages and such a relationship with God.
“Central to your seed of marriage ... is the person, Jesus Christ,” he said.
Calling the couples’ marriages “a blessing unto itself,” Mr. Polando also praised them for continuing to thrive and produce joy and happiness.