Bethesda Barclay House Sweethearts Austin and Barbara Montgomery celebrate Valentine's Day at their Independent retirement living community in Clayton, Missouri

Bethesda Barclay House Sweethearts

Bethesda Health | February 9, 2017

Six decades after their first date, Austin and Barbara Montgomery are as happy as when they were newlyweds, celebrating Valentine’s Day while maintaining a vibrant lifestyle at Bethesda Barclay House, an independent retirement living community in Clayton, Missouri.

“This month, we’ll be married for 59 years,” Barbara recalled. “We enjoyed living in our home in Brentwood for 40 years. We moved to Bethesda Barclay House in 2008, and have enjoyed a care-free, fun lifestyle ever since.”

Kindling Romance

The couple met when Austin and Barbara were working summer jobs at a hospital in Rolla, Missouri during break. The pair struck up a relationship that continued in St. Louis when classes resumed. Austin, now a semi-retired doctor, was in medical school at Washington University, and Barbara was an undergraduate student there.

“One of our first dates was a movie and, when it was over, we came out and found it had snowed,” said Barbara. “We decided to go sledding on Art Hill in Forest Park. I couldn’t go back to my room to get my boots, so I had to make do with the shoes I was wearing. My feet were frozen, but I didn’t care because I was having such a great time.”

Austin proposed in January 1958, and was thrilled when Barbara accepted. The couple planned to be married on Valentine’s Day of that year. However, the bride-to-be couldn’t arrange a wedding on such short notice, so they pushed back the date a few days. They were married on Feb. 22.

Unlike their frosty date on Art Hill, the couple enjoyed surprisingly spring-like temperatures on their wedding day, with a high in the 70s.

“You couldn’t ask for a nicer day in February,” Austin said. “We really lucked out.”

The Best is Yet to Come

Date nights are a little bit more predictable these days, with a steady schedule of events arranged both at Bethesda Barclay House and a variety of St. Louis-area attractions, Barbara said. Still, they’re always interesting and entertaining.

“There are all sorts of fun things to do here,” Barbara said. “They show movies, have dinner parties, happy hours and trips to places like the Butterfly House (at the Missouri Botanical Garden). There are decorations and parties on Valentine’s Day and for things like Mardi Gras. It seems like there is always something going on.”

Living the Good Life

In addition to the beautiful facilities, and the variety of activities and wonderful friends the pair have made at Bethesda Barclay House, Austin loves the community’s location on South Brentwood Boulevard in Clayton.

“Location, location, location,” Austin said while gesturing out his living room window toward Shaw Park, where people could be seen spending a Sunday afternoon ice skating, jogging and playing tennis 11 stories below.

As a physician, Austin was very familiar with the quality of Bethesda’s communities, staff and resources, according to Barbara.

“When we decided that we were ready for an independent living environment, there was no doubt that Bethesda was the only place we were going to go,” Barbara said.

With a beautiful apartment and freedom from things like home maintenance and lawn care, Barbara said her romance with Austin is as strong and happy as it has been in sixty years together.

“We’ve really found our comfort zone here, and we are enjoying life more than ever,” Barbara said.

Keeping loved ones together is something we at Bethesda are proud of. Our communities in the St. Louis area offer a wide range of senior living options right here at home. Learn more about our communities to find one that is right for you and your loved ones.

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