Two Valley Stream couples celebrate 40 years of marriage


Pat and Marty Kielawa are two Valley Stream natives who first met at the Valley Stream pool in the summer of 1966. Pat, who is now 65, said she was with a group of girls, and somebody from her friends’ group knew someone from his friends’ group. Marty, who is now 67, then worked as the mailman in her parents’ neighborhood in south Valley Stream. They were married on Nov. 5, 1978.

Their 40 years together were not without hardships, however. In 2005, Marty needed to get a heart valve transplant because he had bacteria in his system that was eroding the heart valve. “It was definitely hard, he was really sick,” Pat said. “[But] Once they put the valve in him, it took a few weeks but he got better.”

They were able to get through the difficulties, Pat said, because they have the same interests and a good sense of humor. “As he told me in the beginning of the marriage, he said, ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff,” Pat recalled.

Those lessons resonated with their three children and four grandchildren, according to their daughter Michele. “One thing I hope to take from them as I am getting married this August, is to not worry about the small stuff and to laugh at each other,” she said in a Facebook message to the Herald. “My siblings and I are very lucky to have them as our support system.”

Ann and Brian White

Ann and Brian Whites already celebrated their 40th anniversary on Jan. 20. They were married young, when she was 16 and he was 23, on a snowy winter day in 1978. “We woke up to 18 inches of snow,” Ann recalled, adding that the courts were closed. “The justice of the peace let us get married at his home.”

They have lived in Valley Stream, where Ann grew up, since 1968, and had three children, who gave them eight grandchildren. The Whites see their children and grandchildren every weekend. “We’re a very, very close, tight family,” Ann, who is not 56, said.

Even with children, the Whites continue to do everything as a couple. “We still hold hands when we’re walking in the supermarket,” Ann said. “We really have always been like this.”

Their daughter, Michelle Katsavos, can attest to their close-knit relationship. “When my father used to have to travel for work, my mom would stand at the front door waiting for his cab to arrive and would embrace him in such a hug because she missed him so much,” she said in a Facebook message to the Herald. “They genuinely enjoy each other’s company. I can only hope my husband and I are like that after 40 years. “

But the Whites’ lives became more difficult in the past three years, when Brian needed two surgeries on his spine. “Unfortunately, I guess he’s going to live with pain, but he’s my trooper,” Ann said. “He doesn’t let it get him down.”

When asked what the secret to a successful marriage is, Brian, who is now 63, responded that they do not argue. “It’s just been a wonderful 40 years,” he said.