Robbers celebrate 60th anniversary

December 20, 2011

By Contributor

Richard and Molly Robbers in 2011

Richard and Molly Robbers, Issaquah residents from 1963-1987 who are currently living in Everett, will celebrate their 60th anniversary Dec. 28.

They have six children.

You could say that the first decade of Belfair couple Rick and Molly Robbers’ life together indelibly shaped the five decades that followed.

They spent their honeymoon, beginning Dec. 28, 1951, coaxing a 1949 Ford convertible from Everett to Pensacola, Fla., where Rick was stationed in the Naval Aviation Cadet Program. Cadets weren’t supposed to be married and once when Rick returned to the base after curfew, having secretly tended to his ailing bride, a smug duty officer wrote him up, eager to bust Rick’s chops. Was seeing Molly a few minutes more that night worth it?

“Of course,” Rick said.

It didn’t hurt later when Rick — aboard a troop transport taking newly minted naval officers to N.A.S. Barber’s Point, Oahu, Hawaii — greeted that same duty officer, washed out and dishing up chow.

On the heels of the Korean War, Rick’s squadron, the VP-6 “Blue Sharks,” were sent to the Far East to patrol shipping lanes in the Western Pacific. Back in Honolulu, Molly spent those eight months apart from her husband making lifelong friends with the other squadron wives and dreaming of starting her family.

The Navy deployed VP-6 to Kodiak, Alaska, in October 1954; once again Rick took to the skies while Molly returned to Everett. Two months later, Rick tried to surprise Molly for their anniversary by flying down, but snowstorms turned him back. Meanwhile, Molly flew to Alaska to surprise Rick. (Eventually they met up.)

By summer 1955, Rick and Molly had left active duty and hired on with United Airlines. Rick attended flight training in Denver and a few months later the couple was assigned to Los Angeles, but it was an exceptionally lonely time for Molly.

“I knew no one,” she said. “Our friends were still in Denver, and Rick was flying puddle-jumpers for three or four days at a time.”

A few years later, Rick, furloughed from United and working for Continental Airlines, returned to Denver for more flight training while Molly stayed in Mountain View to sell their house.

Eventually, United recalled Rick, and Molly, who was visiting family in Everett, rejoined him just in time for their son, Richard Lee, to make his own debut in August 1958. After the babies started coming — over 10 years, MaryAnne, David, Susan and Nancy joined the family — Rick gained enough seniority to bid time off to welcome each arrival.

Until he retired in 1989, Rick’s commercial flying career took him from Bangkok to Boston, and all points in between. Of course, there were scads of vacations and family times together, but the skies always beckoned. After retirement, Rick and Molly were rarely apart for more than a few days at a time.

During the times Rick was away for either country or career, Molly held her own with the Navy, neighbors and naysayers; when reunited, the couple simply picked up where they left off, and it has worked for 60 years.

Is the old chestnut true — did absence make their hearts grow fonder all those years?

Molly nods and takes Rick’s hand. Rick simply grins.

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