Editor’s Note: This Thursday is Valentine’s Day – a day associated with love. It is an emotion that comes in many forms, such as first, fleeting, friendship, and forever love. But what makes forever love in a marriage – the love that truly lasts a lifetime? The Times sat down with two couples at Dirigo Pines in Orono to ask their secrets to a marriage that lasts.

For Fred and Nancy Stine, ages 88 and 85 respectively love came in their mid-40s, while they were printing programs on an old fashioned photocopier in the mid 1970s. The two, who each had been previously married, had children attending a music conference at UMaine.

“We always say the smell of the spirits from that copier got to us,” said Nancy, smiling.

At the time, Fred was still living in New Jersey, and so a long distance relationship started. The two gradually became acquainted, with Nancy eventually moving south to be with Fred. The Stines married in 1977, then returned to Maine for good in 1984.

The Stines have enjoyed their 41 years together, traveling extensively to places such as the British Isles, the rest of Europe, even Russia; they summer on the coast. Through all the years, they have always got along.

“We had our disagreements from time to time, but nobody went off sulking for hours,” said Fred. “We don’t let anything escalate to a confrontation.”


“There’s a little give and take to a good marriage,” added Nancy.

The Stines added that it’s also good to have some similar interests – they enjoy playing cribbage together – but that they also enjoy separate interests.

“We’re somewhat independent, but we’re dependent on each other at the same time,” said Nancy.

The Stines agreed that having something to look forward to has made their relationship strong.

“We still like planning. We’re thinking of going on a cruise sometime,” said Fred. “We both still have our spirit of adventure.

George and Marion Peckham, who are 91 and 92, have been together for 68 years. The two grew up together in Northeast Harbor and were friends as children; after George returned home from serving in the military, he worked up his courage and went to the drugstore where Marion worked and asked her for a date.


Marion said no.

“I was going steady with someone else,” said Marion.

“But he went off hunting when they were supposed to have a date, and she didn’t think much of that,” said George. “I asked her for a date again, and she said yes.”

And with that, the two were a couple.

George went to UMaine, and he and Marion married in 1950. He worked in Vermont for a time a GE, then at Great Northern in Millinocket, before returning to Maine and opening a consulting firm on Mount Desert Island, where Marion was the bookkeeper. The couple moved to Dirigo Pines last year after being coaxed into it by a daughter who lives in Bangor who – along with two grandchildren – is their “pride and joy.”

It’s been an enduring marriage for the Peckhams, one with many good times, as well as the tragedies that life brings. Through it all, George and Marion have been there for each other, their love unwavering.


“We always have been honest with each other, and we always have got along,” said George. “We never fought or bickered. We might have raised our voices from time to time, but nothing more.”

“We both are willing to admit it when we’re wrong said Marion. “There’s give and take to a good marriage.”

Like the Stines, the Peckhams have enjoyed separate interests in life – George was an outdoorsman and likes to discuss politics, while Marion enjoys knitting and belongs to an art group – but they enjoy being together as well.

“We always have,” said George. “You have to have that to have a good marriage.”

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