Written by Rich Forestano Saturday, 15 February 2014 00:00
While half of marriages end in divorce today, one East Williston couple has a word of advice to current and future newlyweds: patience. Jim and Barbara Sandquist will be married for 64 years on Oct. 7 and will renew their vows on Valentine’s Day at Harbor Links in Port Washington, along with 90 other couples.
“You have to be forgiving,” Jim said. “You need to understand your partner and how they feel.”
Barbara says Jim is the one to not lose his temper, which keeps both of them in check during trying times.
“He’s very level,” she said. “We both have to have patience. It was hard at times, like with the holidays, especially when he was working.”
The two met at a dance in Lost Battalion Hall in Rego Park in 1948, just after World War II. Barbara, living in Hollis at the time, was out with her friends when Jim, of Corona, with his buddies in tow, noticed his wife-to-be.
“He kept bumping into me all night when he was dancing with some girl that looked like Joe DiMaggio,” said Barbara. “There were three of us."
Jim, true to his generous nature, offered Barbara a ride home.
“I knew right away that she was the one,” Jim stated.
The one condition? Her friends had to come with her.
“I wouldn’t leave without them,” Barbara said with a laugh. “He insisted that I sit in the front seat.”
They were married in Hollis, Queens at St. Gerard’s Catholic Church and honeymooned in Hollywood, Fla. But their biggest treks was across country twice with their children.
“From the petrified forest, to Yellowstone, all over,” Jim said. “That helped us a lot, being around each other.”
The two have cruised up the coast of Norway and floated down the Nile River. Traveling is in their blood, Barbara says.
Jim and Barbara lived in Queens before moving to Franklin Square in 1955 and then East Williston in Wheatley House in 1993.
Jim, 91, is a retired FDNY firefighter and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He worked for various insurance companies including Aetna and Cigna after leaving Hook and Ladder 22 in 1969.
Barbara worked for the Nassau County Supreme Court under numerous judges, including Joe Suozzi, father of former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi. She also worked for various lawyers and served as district clerk for the Franklin Square School District. Barbara retired in 1993.
She was also a fierce volunteer.
“I called it a hobby,” she said. “I volunteered at Democratic headquarters back then.”
Town Clerk Wayne Wink will help facilitate the vow renewal on Valentine’s Day.
“For many couples, this ceremony gives them time to reflect on their relationship and how they arrived here,” Wink said. “I’m married 11 years and I can only imagine how [the Sandquists] have gotten here.”
Call 311 for more information.