On January 20, 2019, Fred and Dorothy Galbraith celebrated 70 years of marriage at the Brooksville Seventh-day Adventist Church, surrounded by neighbors, relatives and friends from Florida, Alabama, North Dakota and Virginia. Looking back 75 years, Dorothy remembers her first encounter with Fred at Indiana Academy.

“He gave me a valentine and that started it,” she says. “You couldn’t date back then. You couldn’t even walk down the sidewalk together. He slipped me the valentine on the steps and I ran back to the dormitory and hid behind the door and read it.”

Dorothy was just 14 years old; Fred, 15. The couple married five years later and went on to enjoy a diverse and interesting life together. Fred took a 2-year course in agriculture at Andrews University and Dorothy studied music. The couple moved to Northern Minnesota where they had two children (Sheryl and Mike), bought a farm, set up a logging operation, milked cows and learned to get along at 45 degrees below zero with no running water or central heat.

“Those were 8 of the happiest years of our lives,” says Dorothy. “Everything was so simple. Today life is so complicated. You can hardly keep up.”

Following a move to Maplewood Academy where Dorothy taught piano and Fred worked in the woodworking shop, the couple became migratory bee keepers, eventually managing 2200 colonies, with semi-trucks “going back and forth twice a year.”

In 1976 they found themselves in Florida where they continued beekeeping and operated a citrus grove, sending out 6 truckloads of oranges and grapefruits each year. When a hard freeze took the trees in the 1980s, Fred planted 1000 persimmon trees and the packing and shipping continued.

Upon retirement the couple made 5 trips to Alaska, coming back with aromatic cedar which Fred made into recipe boxes, canes, walking sticks and lamps that they sold at flea markets for 15 years.

Through the years, the couple always found time for their church, with roles as elder, school board chairman, ingathering leader, home missionary leader, Sabbath School teachers,  department leaders, pianist and organist—a role Dorothy holds to this day.

When asked for the secret of their long relationship, Dorothy quickly attributes their happy marriage to togetherness. But it is Fred’s practical advice that seems to wrap it all up.

“Well,” he says with a wry smile, looking fondly at his wife. “You just find someone in the first place that’s worthy of spending that much time with and you marry them.”


By Sandra Doran