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Old August 28th, 2002, 03:03 PM
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Carole and Johnny Carole and Johnny is offline
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Default OT -Oldest living married couple: 83 years & counting

Oldest living married couple: 83 years of bliss and counting

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) A couple who said "I do" 83 years ago have been officially recognized as the world's oldest living married couple.

William and Claudia Ritchie at their home in Paris, Ky., in April, have been married for 83 years.
The Herald Leader, via AP

William and Claudia Lillian Ritchie, who got married on April 12, 1919 in Jeffersonville, Ind., received a certificate from Guinness World Records on Tuesday.

"I wanted to take care of her, that was the biggest part of it," Bill Ritchie said.

The Ritchies raised four children, two of whom have died. They have nine grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and 18 great-great-grandchildren.

While Lil Ritchie's memory is faltering and Bill Ritchie has difficulty hearing, both were made aware of the record, said daughter Jewell Wagoner, 75.

Wagoner and her sister Helen Pennington, 77, said it has become difficult to care for their parents and decided last week to place them in a nursing home.

Lil Ritchie, 98, moved in Thursday. Bill Ritchie, 104, had refused to go but asked to join his wife a few days later.

"They had never been separated before in 83 years of marriage," Wagoner said.

Wagoner began trying to obtain the record recognition from Guinness after an article about her parent's anniversary appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

"Someone said they might even be the oldest couple," she said.

The Ritchies received 579 cards congratulating them on their anniversary this year.
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