Couple marks 66 years of marriage on Mother Road

JC AMBERLYN/Miner<br>Kenneth and Kathleen Kelley in front of the Kingman Powerhouse Thursday.

JC AMBERLYN/Miner<br>Kenneth and Kathleen Kelley in front of the Kingman Powerhouse Thursday.

KINGMAN - Kenneth Kelley, 88, said he knew two weeks before meeting his wife that he was going to marry her.

"I saw her and said, 'That's the most beautiful woman I've seen in my entire life,'" he said.

On Thursday, Kenneth and Kathleen Kelley celebrated their 66th anniversary while being photographed with classic 1966 cars in front of the signage for Route 66. "We just thought it would be appropriate," said Kathleen, 82.

Kenneth was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne during World War II when he met Kathleen at a coffee shop in Leicester, England. They dated for several months, meeting each time under the spiral clock tower in town.

Kathleen admits to standing Kenneth up several times during their initial courtship. He had been seeing a friend of hers and she wasn't quite sure if she was comfortable dating him.

Kathleen eventually relented, and the couple dated for several months, during which time Kenneth proposed a half a dozen times.

Kathleen said no each time until she finally accepted.

Over the years, the couple had four children - John, Linda, Karran and Kim. They moved to Kingman in 1962 after Kenneth was hired as the mine superintendent for Duval Mine.

They've lived in the same house on Route 66 since moving here.

Kenneth calls the last 66 years with his wife "milk and honey."

"I've trained him well," Kathleen joked. "Every morning he wakes me up with tea and fruit in bed."

Their youngest daughter, Kim, said humor and supportiveness have been the backbone of her parent's marriage.

"They've been through thick and thin together, stayed the course and just helped each other survive," she said.

Thursday's anniversary photo op was coordinated by the Route 66 Cruisers. The Kelleys celebrated later that evening with a special dinner courtesy of their kids.