It's a love story with longevity.
When Tony and Virginia Knoll first met, Harry Truman was president, and the U.S. was just out of World War II. That was 1947.
Now, 66 years later, a lot has changed in the world, but the couple, who are in their mid-90s, is still in good health and living at home without assistance.
T-R PHOTO BY LUKE STALZER
Tony and Virginia Knoll stand hand-in-hand in their Marshalltown home Wednesday afternoon. The World War II veterans are celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary Saturday and could be the longest living World War II couple in the United States.
The Knolls first met each other after Tony's sister married Virginia's brother. They introduced the couple in 1947, and after going to dinner one night with them, the Knolls said that's all it took for them to know they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. They were married June 15, 1948.
"We started going together, and then just decided we should get married," Tony said.
Not only is it special that this year marks the couple's 65th anniversary, but both Tony and Virginia served in the military during World War II, which is a rare occurrence to find two spouses who served during the war that are still living.
Paul Kavanaugh, who is married to the Knoll's daughter, Pam, has been doing research for the past month and believes that Tony and Virginia might be the oldest living World War II couple. He has been in contact with the Guinness Book of World Records to confirm his research, but is still awaiting confirmation.
"I have found World War II veterans who are much older, into their upper 90s, but only one of the spouses is a World War II vet," Kavanaugh said. "Tony and Virginia are the oldest I've found, and the book will try to confirm that."
Tony, who is now 94, was drafted in 1941 while working at Lennox Industries in Marshalltown. He went to war in 1942 and served in the Army Air Corps in both England and France.
Virginia, who is 93, entered the Army Nurse Corps as a registered nurse in October 1942 and served her time in the U.S.
After the couple married in 1948, they made their home in Marshalltown and raised three children, Tim, Pam and Patty.
"We've lived here since 1956," Virginia said. "We raised all of our kids here."
The Knolls also have five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
The Knolls said that a lot has changed since they were married, and they're pretty simple people. They do not have cable, a computer or cell phones and have driven the same cars for more than 20 years, they said.
Tony and Virginia offered some marriage advice and said that marriage has its ups and downs, but the key to a successful marriage is to always communicate with each other and look at it like a permanent thing that can't be erased.
"You can work things out," Tony said. "We figure when somebody gets married it's for the rest of their life."