At Eastern Beach Christian Holiday Camp, Don plucked up the courage to make his move.
They had “eyed each other” at church previously – but hadn’t spoken.
“I happened to be in the vicinity when Joan arrived – she was there with her suitcase and they had a big flight of stairs.
“I thought to myself, ‘now’s as good a time as any’, so I offered to carry her bag up the stairs. We were basically inseparable after that,” he smiled.
“When I first heard of him we were coming home from church one day and my dad mentioned Don,” Joan said.
“He was a really nice looking man, my dad quipped.”
Last week, as Cambridge couple Don and Joan Stock marked an auspicious occasion – their 70th , or platinum, wedding anniversary – they said they are just as much in love as ever.
Marrying on July 15, 1950 at what was then the Te Awamutu Gospel Hall – now Churchills Café – they’ve built that life-long love on family, faith, and adventure.
They enjoyed a celebratory lunch at the café with friends on their anniversary – the following day they enjoyed a family lunch to celebrate Don’s 95th birthday.
“I think it’s to talk things through,” Joan said of the secret to a seven decade marriage.
“And, we are Christians – so our faith has been a big part of our lives.”
“You have to have fun too,” Don said.
“The world is a very different place these days, but we’ve always had each other.”
In the early years of their marriage Don farmed at Ngutunui – they have shifted many times over the years – most recently 15 years ago from Waihi Beach to Cambridge, where they now live.
Don and Joan have five children, Phillip, Rodney, Helen, Kathryn and Donna – 15 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and three great great grandchildren.
Helen and Donna told the News they have fond childhood memories of life with their fun-loving parents.
“They were always there for each of us kids,” Helen said.
“The biggest thing I remember is the really simple fun we had as kids – like games of swing ball,” Donna said
“Dad would seldom holiday at all during the early years – he would set the tent up at a beach, usually Raglan or Waihi, and go back to the farm.
He’d often fall asleep on the beach from shear exhaustion the day he returned to pick us up.”
So, any advice as they look back on the years?
“I’d say make the most of the time you have, give time to others. The years go very fast,” Don said.
In recent years, Don and Joan have found a shared love of travelling around New Zealand and overseas in a motor home.
“When I was 87 we went on a 13,000km trip across Australia – that was amazing.
“What we love about those trips is we don’t have to stick to the main road – we can be adventurous,” Don smiled.
They enjoy squeezing in the odd scenic walk together to get some exercise.