Matthew and Mary Michell pose with their sons Leonard

Matthew and Mary Michell pose with their sons Leonard

The secret to a happy marriage

Burns Lake couple celebrates 70 years of marriage on March 16.

After 70 years of marriage, it’s safe to say that Burns Lake residents Mary and Matthew Michell have discovered the key ingredients to a happy marriage.

“Respect, love, communication and care for one another,” explained their daughter Emma Palmantier.

The love birds celebrated 70 years of marriage on March 16, 2015. Mary is now 88 years old, and Matthew is 93.

“Both mom and dad are the same age as Queen Elizabeth and her husband, so they are our royal family,” joked Palmantier.

The happy couple still enjoys many activities together including trapping, hunting, fishing, berry picking and socializing with friends.

“They love each other and always plan and do activities together,” she said.

Both Mary and Matthew were born and raised in Old Fort, B.C., but made Burns Lake their home over 40 years ago.

Throughout his life, Matthew owned and managed a sawmill and logging company, and was an active trapper and hunter.

He enjoyed taking care of his traditional territory, and is now a hereditary chief – Bie Dih Dee Ah head of Beaver Clan.

He taught his nephews some traditional skills hoping that they would practice and continue to share their knowledge.

Mary worked beside Matthew making moose hide items, jackets, vests, purses, moccasins and dresses. She received a provincial award for her crafts and made jackets for people such as grand chief Edward John and nature chief Phil Fortaise.

Today, Mary and Matthew have five children, 17 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Even with a big family to care about, Palmantier said her parents still enjoy meeting new people.

“They appreciate anyone that comes to the house providing and sharing food and checking up on them,” she said.

Even after 70 years together, Palmantier said their love hasn’t changed.

“Matthew was always interested in her [Mary]; it was love at first sight.”