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World War II Lovebirds Celebrate 70th Wedding Anniversary: 'They've Stuck Together Through Thick and Thin'

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Courtesy Eileen Kotarski

Their love story spans decades.

Seventy years ago, Francis Conway, then 24, proposed to Marcella McAllister, then 23, in a letter from overseas – the Army soldier was stationed in Japan during World War II and “couldn’t wait” until he got home.

The couple, who married on January 5, 1946, celebrated their 70th anniversary in Batavia, New York, on January 2 in a ceremony put on by their children.

Francis and Marcella Conway’s wedding portrait
Courtesy Eileen Kotarski
“They are as in love as they were when they first got married,” Francis, 94, and Marcella’s eldest daughter, Eileen Kotarski, 69, tells PEOPLE. “You can tell by the way they look at each other and the way she smiles at him.”

Kotarski says there were 80 family members in attendance for the heartwarming anniversary celebration, including seven of Marcella, 93, and Francis’s nine children, 20 grandchildren, 36 great-grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren.

Francis and Marcella Conway with their nine children, from left, Jim Conway, Eileen Kotarski, Betty Winn, Leigh MacLeod, Maryann Kogut, Carol Caton and John Conway, at their 70th anniversary party
Jim Krencik/Daily News of Batavia, N.Y
Kotarski says her mother and father, both in wheelchairs, still love teasing each other.

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“We asked mom and dad if they knew why we were celebrating and my mom said, ‘An anniversary!’ and then dad winked at her and goes ‘Whose?’ ” Kotarski says with a laugh. “It’s adorable, you can tell they are still so happy with each other.”

Francis and Marcella Conway’s 70th wedding anniversary cake
Courtesy Eileen Kotarski
The longtime lovebirds reside in the New York State Veterans Home in Batavia and are “completely happy and content with each other.”

“They’ve stuck together through thick and thin,” their daughter says. “And they always will.”