Ann was 17, born to Syrian immigrants. John was 21, and the
two grew up in the same neighborhood. The two became friends
in high school when he would pick her up and take her to their
Connecticut school. Ann’s parents nearly thwarted the
blossoming romance—her father had planned to arrange a
marriage for her to someone 20 years her senior.
Refusing to give up on love, John and Ann ran away to New
York City. Ann’s father lamented, but a family member consoled
him by saying young love wouldn’t last. The lovebirds eloped in
1932 and watched the world go through incredible
transformations, from the Great Depression to World War II,
from the golden age of radio to TV to iPhones.
On November 24, 2013, John and Ann Betar celebrated their
81st wedding anniversary . The couple have created quite the
brood. Their five children birthed them 14 grandchildren who
had 16 great-grandchildren. John, 102, and Ann, 98, are the
longest married couple in the United States of America.