Bark River couple celebrates 65 years of marriage

BARK RIVER – Bernice Esther Gustafson of Stephenson and Marvin John Ray of Perronville were united in marriage on Sept. 4, 1948, during a ceremony held at Palestine Covenant Church.

Together they owned and operated a dairy farm and feed mill in Perronville for 13 years and four of their sons were born while they lived there. Seeing the need for a larger mill in the area, they sold the farm and moved into a drafty old farmhouse on the John Ray homestead with no plumbing or running water for the duration of the building phase.

In 1963, they held the grand opening of Ray’s Feed Mill in Bark River, and their daughter was born shortly afterward. Their last child, a son, was born three years later to complete their family.

In addition to their six children, Marvin and Bernice have 10 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren with another on the way.

The Rays are a close-knit family, working together, playing together and praying together. Bernice has been a church organist for 72 years and has been a Sunday school teacher for almost as long. Marvin has served on the church board and has been a Sunday school teacher. They are members of Bark River Bible Church and have been active there as well as in the community.

Their greatest joy has been serving the Lord wherever they are and in whatever capacity they’re needed. They have graciously opened their home to missionaries, visiting pastors and to people of their church and community.

Marvin and Bernice have been the Bark River Broncos’ biggest fans throughout the years, beginning when their own children were involved in school sports and activities, and continuing on with the grandchildren and now with the older great-grandchildren today.

Marvin and Bernice celebrated their 65th anniversary at The Terrace in Gladstone on Aug. 30, along with their children, Paul (Carole), Tom (Charlotte), Mark (Nancy), Ruth (Don) Ives, and Rick, all of Bark River, and Jim (Janice) of Green Bay. Many of their grandchildren and their spouses and great-grandchildren were also able to celebrate with them.