Marriage began in friendship

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Milestone to celebrate. . . Gore couple Margaret and Pat Kubala received a congratulations card from the Queen for celebrating 65 years of marriage last week. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

When Pat Kubala decided it was time he needed a girlfriend, he chose Margaret Rose.

The Gore couple celebrated 65 years of marriage on February 9.

Although they attended St Mary’s Primary School there was nothing more to their relationship then than they knew each other’s names, Mrs Kubala said.

After primary school Mrs Kubala attended St Philomena’s College in Dunedin and Mr Kubala got a job.

Like many young people in that era, the couple met at the Gore dances.

He was 19 years old and not interested in taking anyone out seriously and Mrs Kubala was about 17, Mr Kubala said.

He would dance with girls and offer them a lift home but never took the relationship any further.

“I made it a policy not to go with anyone,” he said.

“We were young. We were having fun,” Mrs Kubala said.

He remembered the first time he saw her walk into a dance laughing with her girlfriends.

“I can still remember seeing this red coat and thought how smart she looked.”

One night he danced with her and took her home but it was several weeks before they saw each other again.

Eventually after several months Mr Kubala decided to change his policy on not having a girlfriend and asked her out to the pictures.

“I did think she was special.

“I could tell that she was a very kind sort of a person.

“One of the things I admired about her was she stood very straight.”

Mrs Kubala said she enjoyed his company.

“We got along.”

Eighteen months later they were engaged.

“It was much stricter than it is now,” Mrs Kubala said.

By the time they married a year later they were good friends, she said.

When they were first married Mr Kubala managed a farm for his uncle at Waimumu and later started Kubala Seeds, a seed-dressing business.

In 1980 the couple bought racehorses and latterly had success with a pacer called Pat’s Delight.

Mr Kubala’s latest horse, First Rose, was named after Mrs Kubala.

Mrs Kubala was not sure there was a secret to a long marriage.

“You’ve just got to live.”

“I would say doing things for each other and working together,” Mr Kubala said.

The couple have eight children, 16 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.