Walter and Pat celebrate diamond anniversary

Walter and Pat Oosthuizen on their wedding day 60 years ago.

Walter, and Pat Oosthuizen, of Table View, will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary on Thursday March 11, with a romantic dinner for two while they reminisce about the good old days.

The couple, formerly from Bloubergrant, sat in their cosy home at River Glade Retirement Village as they told Tabletalk how they met.

Walter, now 82, and Pat, 80, met at Worcester Congregational Church in 1957.

They both taught Sunday school. Walter sang in the church choir and sometimes preached while Pat played the organ, sang and ran the church’s women association.

Walter was studying mechanical engineering in Oudtshoorn, and when he returned home, his father told him about the “pretty girl he needed to marry”. But Pat was dating at the time, although the two of them remained friends.

When Pat’s boyfriend was killed in a motorbike accident, Walter stepped up to support and comfort her. And 60 years later, he is still doing just, says Pat, through some of the toughest times.

On March 11 1961, the couple had a lavish wedding ceremony in Worcester funded by Pat’s mother who had cancer. She died five months after the wedding at the age of 46.

Being an only child and with her father absent, Pat says her mother “knew what she was doing by placing her right in the arms of an everlasting love”.

Walter becomes tearful as he recalls how unhappy Pat was on the morning of their wedding because her father, whom she had begged to come, was a no-show.

“I remember that morning so clearly,” he says, “not only because Pat was late but because another man had to walk my future down the aisle, not even her own father.”

But after seeing her in her white chiffon dress, nothing else seemed to matter.

Pat was a bookkeeper and later became one of the first female estate agents in Worcester. And Walter worked for Eskom at the Hex River Power Station.

He played rugby, cricket, softball, badminton, bowls and tennis. He is a recipient of the Victor Barna Award, the highest table tennis award of merit in South Africa, as well as a Sport Legends Award from the provincial Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport.

Pat also played bowls and the couple appeared in the Guinness Book of Records for their bowling achievements.

In 1988, Walter was transferred to the Salt River Power Station and later to Koeberg. The couple settled in Table View.

They have a son, Ashley, a daughter, Alison, and three grandchildren.

Walter says he couldn’t imagine life without Pat, especially her cooking and humour.

Pat giggles and says trust, love and meals sealed their bond.

“And we still hold hands like we did back then,” she says, “but now it’s more about ensuring no one falls.”

Walter and Pat will be celebrating their anniversary alone this year because of the pandemic