Love continues for high school sweethearts some 70 years later

William CasteelNewcomerstown News Published:

Wayne and Bonnie Mortine have known each other since they were in the seventh grade.

They have been school classmates, co-workers, and married for nearly 70 years.

Bonnie recalls growing up in Coshocton County in a family of 10 children. She was the ninth child born to Calvin and Elmina Hart of Warsaw.

She laughingly said, "I was a tom-boy."

Bonnie eventually outgrew her tom-boy image and took an interest in boys. She recalls meeting Wayne for the first time when they were both about 14 years old. Wayne recalled having just moved to Warsaw and living down the street from the Hart family. He said he was at their home almost every day, as he was friends with Bonnie's brothers. Bonnie said she and Wayne started dating when they were in their freshman year of high school, about 1944-1945. She said they dated all through high school. They were both in the same class at Warsaw High School, and graduated with the class of 1948.

Wayne, son of Russell and Glenda Mortine started working at the IGA grocery store in Warsaw when he was 14. He liked the job so much he stayed until he retired at the age of 62. Actually, Wayne later became the step-son of the store's owner, Walter Thompson, when his parents separated. Wayne was a well-known face at the Thompson's IGA Foodliner in Newcomerstown for many years, working along side his step-father, and step-brother, Bill Thompson. Wayne later attended the National School of Meat Cutting at Toledo in 1949. He recalls his training was very beneficial as in those early days of the IGA they offered meat cutting services and rental of freezer space for their customers to store bulk meat. He adds that many people raised cattle, hogs and freezer's were not as plentiful as they are now days.

Bonnie recalls her first job was at the Farmers and Merchants Bank, formerly located on Main Street in Warsaw. She said she was 16 years old at the time and would work a couple hours in the morning each day through the week, then go to class afterwards. She says she later took clerical training and a short-lived position at the Coshocton City Hospital (now known as Coshocton County Memorial Hospital). She then went to work for the Coshocton National Bank, where she stayed until she and Wayne were married.

They were married at the Warsaw Methodist Church on March 19, 1950, but even after their marriage, they were never very far away from each other. Bonnie later took the position as bookkeeper at the IGA in 1955 when they moved to Newcomerstown. She remained in her position at Thompson's IGA until she retired in 1992.

Wayne and Bonnie are the parents of two sons, Mark and Neil, and grandparents of 10 grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter. Mark is an adjunct professor at Miami University at Hamilton, and Neil is the CEO of Falhgren-Mortine Advertising and Public Relations in Columbus.

While the Mortines were both very busy with their jobs and raising a family, they were both also active in community activities. Bonnie was a member of the former Mother's Club for many years. Wayne was an active member of the Lions Club, and the Ohio Historical Society. He also had a major interest in local archeology for many years. They are also members of the Christ United Methodist Church at Newcomerstown.

As for any "secrets" for their success at being classmates, co-workers, and spouses for nearly 70 years, they both say that it comes down to "just being agreeable with each other."

Wayne adds, "Whether you or your spouse is wrong, just agree."

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