Jo and Bob Bickle celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary

ZANESVILLE — As the old adage goes, the first year of marriage is paper. Seventy years together is platinum.

But Jo and Bob Bickle have never been much for exchanging gifts with one another.

“We have good friends and good family. It makes a marriage easier,” Bob said.

The Zanesville couple is celebrating 70 years of marriage today. Both have lived in Muskingum County their entire lives — all but two years for Bob, who was drafted into the Army in 1953.

Now, seven decades have gone by since their wedding on June 15, 1952. There have been good times and hard times, like the sudden death of their son Todd Bickle, the late Muskingum County Clerk of Courts, but the marriage has always worked.

“I just learn how to say, ‘Yes, dear,'” Bob joked. “No, we’re just compatible.”

The Bickles’ love story

It all started on a double date in high school in 1950. They were supposed to be on dates with another boy and girl in attendance, “but that never happened,” Jo said.

Both caught the other’s eye. Jo, now 90 years old and a retired Licking Valley Elementary School teacher, and Bob, 91 and a retired Bridge Corp salesman, were married two years later. 

The wedding was an especially memorable day for the two. But one thing stood out: “It was hot,” Bob said.

Jo had purchased her wedding dress five months before their June wedding.

“And that was dumb because it was colder then,” she said with a laugh, “It was satin, and it was about 100 degrees that day.”

The wedding happened shortly before Bob was deployed to Germany during the Korean War, which would be the longest period of time they two were ever apart.

There are too many fond memories to count, the couple said. Golfing together was a fun activity, and a trip to Hawaii decades ago was also a highlight, though the two have never been much for traveling far from home. Family is important to them, and that includes their two children, six grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

So what’s the secret to marital success? Having good friends and family around, good communication, and always remembering why they fell in love, Jo said. 

For Bob, it’s simple.

“Be patient,” he said, “and stay in love.”


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