Fifty years of marriage.
Some tears, but mostly laughs. Several trials, but greater triumph. A few arguments, but more forgiveness.
And they made it. In January, surrounded by 150 of their friends and family, Rich and Becky Simon celebrated 50 years of marriage: a tribute, Simon said, mostly to his wife.
But if you ask their friends and family, Simon was being modest. He and wife Becky have made a name for themselves as an exemplary marriage, filled with love, patience, respect and mutual adoration.
"They've always been a team," said Oak Forest Mayor Hank Kuspa.
"They're truly dedicated to each other," said longtime friend Joyce Krause.
Their bond and unwavering commitment to each other elicited powerful feedback from Patch readers, in response to a call for Oak Forest's Favorite Lovebirds. Some remarked on their passion for each other, other readers likened their love to that of their own parents.
50 years of Marriage is unheard of these days! Yes, they keep their passion for each other alive every minute of every day! — Reader Felicia Sexton DePyper
Rich and Becky Simon are a true testament to the marriage commitment. — Ald. Chuck Toland
...Even through the ups and downs they still stay strong! — Reader Michelle
...a true inspiration and true love story!! — Reader Michelle
I would say my parents first. but sadly mom passed away almost 4 years ago...if she hadn't they would have been married 51 years last week. ... SO with that in mind I would no doubt have to say the Simons!!!! They are wonderful individuals that together make an awesome team. — Reader Laura Baldwin
After a half-century of marriage, three children and 11 grandchildren, Simon openly adores Becky, calling his sweetheart "the strongest person he's ever known ... humble ... down-to-earth." As she battles illness this Valentine's Day, close friends reflect on her special place in their lives.
"She's just an absolute beautiful person," Krause said.
Separately, DePyper seconded Krause's comment.
"Becky is the most positive person I've ever met," said DePyper. "She tries to find the good in everybody."
Those who know the pair can easily identify what makes them stand out as a community power couple. Simon has served as 2nd ward alderman for a cumulative 30 years. As a parent, he coached local little league, and headed a plumbing company still known for its reliability and customer service.
"I don't know any other family that's been so involved, in so many ways, over the years," Mayor Kuspa said. "They'll give you the shirt off their back."
Simon introduced Krause to her Bernie, a childhood friend of Simon's. The couples have celebrated milestones alongside each other for years, she said.
"Becky, she's raised a beautiful family," Krause said. "Becky really compliments his personality, they're very good together."
For Kuspa, Simon has proved an invaluable asset in both the professional and personal sense. Simon is as passionate about his ward and making Oak Forest the best place it can be, as he is about his marriage.
"He's just a great guy to have around," Kuspa said. "I'm lucky to call him my friend."
The pair is woven into the fabric of Oak Forest, DePyper said. And their love is omnipresent.
"i've seen them bicker, then I've seen them wait on each other. They are the same when they're by themselves, as they are in public," she said.
"They are who they are, and I've always looked up to them."
Special thanks to Vacha's Forest Flowers for donating bouquets for the winner and runner-up.