Saturday, September 1, 2018
By Jessica Hardin
In September 1950, Howard Divelbiss tried to catch the eye of his coworker Lillian Boyer by winking at her from the teller cage at People’s Bank on Wick Avenue.
He shot her a sweet smile from roughly the same location as they celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary at Bistro 1907 downtown Friday evening.
The couple’s children surprised them by arranging to celebrate their anniversary at the location where they met. The new Doubletree by Hilton Youngstown Downtown is where People’s Bank had been.
When she learned about the surprise, Lillian wanted to share her excitement with her coworkers from the bank.
“I found one; she lives in Cleveland. I called her, and she was so excited. I said, ‘Oh Joan, I’m so glad I found you.’ She said, ‘Make sure you call me when you get home! I want to know what everything looks like down there,’” Lillian said.
The couple’s close-knit community of coworkers witnessed their love story quickly unfold 68 years ago.
“Everybody at the bank would go to lunch [on Saturdays] at Rocky Bar and Grille in the Ohio Hotel. I wouldn’t have a way home from there because I rode the Greyhound bus to go to Austintown. So he had a car. And guess who took me home?” Lillian said, as Howard smiled.
Within weeks, Howard and Lillian planned to get married.
“In December [of 1950], we went to Charles Carolyne, a jewelry store, and we put rings on layaway,” Lillian said, as she and Howard showed the silver bands on their left hands.
They made monthly payments until March 1951, when they got engaged. They were married at South Side Presbyterian Church on Sept. 1, 1951.
“There was just something that clicked. There was a constant thinking of each other,” Lillian recalled.
While Howard isn’t quite as talkative as his wife, the way he looked at her Friday night made it clear that he felt the same way.
The couple has three children: Howard, Laura and Lynn Twannette; and four grandchildren: Gregg, Adam, Andrea and Katie. They live in Austintown and spend the majority of their retirement volunteering for Hospice of the Valley.
In 67 years, they’ve weathered illness and death of loved ones and attended many, many graduation parties. They’ve experienced 67 Canfield fairs and renewed their subscription to The Vindicator as many times.
Their anniversary plans are typically relaxed, but Friday evening was special for both of them.
“It is like taking me back a little bit. Tomorrow I’ll have time to sit and think more,” Lillian said.
“I wish we recognized more of it. It doesn’t look anything like it did when we met,” Howard said.
Despite the differences, they were excited to see what changes the intervening years had brought to downtown Youngstown.
“We were really anxious to see what it looks like now. It’s like a whole new world! It’s beautiful.” Lillian said.