Celebrating Love’s Longevity: Anniversaries of 50 years and more
Submitted by Eileen Conti. Written by Mary Jo David
One day Eileen Hassett is shopping at a store in Dearborn, and she meets a handsome clerk, Dale Conti. Next thing she knows, they’re on a first date taking in “Dr. Zhivago” at the movie theater. The rest is history. “We both liked the movie,” recalls Eileen, adding “That may have been the first sign we were meant for each other.”
Eileen and Dale Conti of Stockbridge celebrated their 50th anniversary in the summer of 2020 at home surrounded by their growing family.
Raised in the suburbs, they both dreamed of living in the country. They realized that dream when they found and purchased their old farmhouse in Stockbridge, where they’ve lived ever since. The Contis raised three children, and when the youngest started school, Eileen found a job at the Stockbridge Library.
“I was able to meet some wonderful community members over the years. We have made some life-long friends in the area, and our children all live less than 30 minutes from us,” Eileen shared.
Husband and wife enjoy many of the same things, including spending time with family and friends, making home-cooked meals, taking hikes on park trails, and working in the garden. “Oh, and enjoying a good glass of wine,” Eileen adds.
Life has not been without its challenges. Just before the couple was expecting their second child, Dale was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. He was in the hospital for 17 days. Their second son arrived soon after Dale had surgery on a large tumor wrapped around his heart. On medical leave from his teaching job in Pinckney, he underwent chemotherapy for six months, recovered, and returned to teaching. After 34 years as an educator, he retired.
The couple agrees that raising children represents some of the best and hardest years of their married life. Now that they’re retired, they have plenty of time to enjoy with their children and grandchildren—eight grandsons and one granddaughter. They also both agree on the advice they’d offer their grandkids when picking out a life partner: Find someone you can laugh with and share similar passions with, like music—and movies!
The Contis are still enjoying life in the country, even during the COVID shutdown. In April 2020 Dale built a chicken coop, and they are now the proud owners of five chickens, not to mention a brand new Aussie Bernese puppy named Bella. “Even after 50 years,” Eileen says, “our relationship continues to grow and we still love so many of the same things.”