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Young Dutch sailor married sweetheart in Newfoundland

Rotterdam couple celebrates 75th

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

ROTTERDAM - The story of a 98-year-old former Dutch sailor amply illustrates that love-stricken seamen can be as persistent as anyone in pursuing the girl of his dreams. Aart Ligthart who at age 16 first docked in Newfoundland in 1922, stood up to the protective shield of his future father-in-law when he attempted to court 14-year-old Myrtle Dewey. The persistent Dutchman, after living on the British island colony for a while, married his sweetheart seven years after first meeting her. On June 4th, they celebrated their 75th wedding an-niversary.

The Lighthart couple have lived in Rotterdam and vicinity nearly their entire married life. Aart took any job he could find during the 1930s. After WWII, he landed a job as a steward in the First Class accommodation with Holland America Line from which he re-tired in 1966. Myrtle kept busy at home.

The Lightharts who raised a son and a daughter, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in New-foundland. The celebrations for the 75th are being held in their retirement home where the couple usually is busy socialising with others. They only moved into this home one year ago.

Myrtle Lighthart only has been back twice to New-foundland. The first time, in 1954, she had visited her native province on her own, taking the trip aboard a ship. Their daughter Madge and her husband visited the maternal ancestral home in 2001. Son Bob immigrated to the USA where he and his family reside in the Fort Collins, Colorado area.

The couple enjoys relatively good health.