Woodhaven Celebrates A 60-Year Love Story

By Ed Wendell

March 1963. John F. Kennedy was President. A first class postage stamp was 5 cents. The #1 song was “Surfin’ U.S.A.” by The Beach Boys, the top grossing movie was “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World,” and Pam and Walter got married.

This past Sunday, Pam and Walter Steffens were joined by friends to celebrate their Diamond Anniversary – that’s a 60 year long love story that’s still going strong.

Pamela Washburn and Walter Steffens knew each other long before they went on their first date.

“We lived right around the corner from each other. We knew each other since we were kids, but Walter was 4 years older than me,” Pam told me.

It was when Walter came home from serving in our military, when Pam was 18, that Walter really took notice. When I asked Walter what attracted him to Pam, he didn’t hesitate.

“Her legs,” he says. “Every time she would walk up the block, oh boy!”

Walter fell in love with Pam’s legs and then the rest of her and in April 1962 the following notice appeared in the Leader-Observer:

“Pamela Washburn, daughter of Mr. Ruth Washburn of 7804 86th Avenue was engaged on April 6th to Walter Steffens of 8615 78th Street. The date was also marked by the celebration of Miss Washburn’s birthday.”

And in March of the following year, they tied the knot and the rest is history. A son, Scott, followed but not until 21 years after they were married.

“We wanted to make sure the marriage would last,” Pam says, laughing. “God has his own timetable.”

Since then, the family has expanded to include Scott’s partner Dexie and two grandchildren, Deniel and Emily.

“We are very blessed,” Pam says.

As for their secret to 60 years of happiness Pam said “patience” and Walter said “compromise,” two virtues that not only benefit marriages, but friendships as well.

In fact, life overall would be better for everyone if we could just all be a bit more like Pam and Walter and keep those two words in mind when dealing with each other, even strangers.

Patience and compromise. You can build a lot of very special relationships with those two alone. And those words describe our friends Pam and Walter perfectly.

This past Sunday, Pam and Walter were joined by friends for a celebration of their marriage at Emanuel United Church of Christ on Woodhaven Boulevard and 91st Avenue .Pastor Charles LoCasto brought Pam and Walter up to the altar and renewed their wedding vows, it was a lovely moment.

Afterwards, everyone gathered for coffee and cake and lots of celebrating. They were joined by Walter’s sister Doris and her husband Paul who were on the eve of their own wedding anniversary, 52 happy years for them. It was a great celebration and I had 2 pieces of cake.

These are the good times; this is what living in a community is all about.

It’s about people caring for each other. It’s about taking the time to pick up the phone to check in on someone you know might be lonely. It’s about sending someone a card on their birthday.

And it’s about showing someone you care through a kind word or thoughtful gesture. It’s about showing patience and being open to compromise.

We wish Pam and Walter the happiest of anniversaries and look forward to celebrating many more with them; they are without a doubt the nicest couple in Woodhaven.