The Zongrones celebrate 65 years of matrimony 

VOORHEESVILLE — Seventy years ago, a young man attending New York State College for Teachers in Albany was walking in the hallway, heading to a social studies class. On the way, he happened to notice  a young lady sitting in a classroom, waiting for class to begin.

After that day, he went to class, taking the same route every day, hoping that she would notice him also. Eventually, she did notice him and they began to date, which led to a 65-year marriage.

The couple’s names are Rose Mary and John Zongrone; they currently reside in Voorheesville. Much of John’s time in college was devoted to playing varsity basketball and baseball for four years, while Rose Mary spent much time playing duplicate bridge, which she enjoys to this day.

The road along the way had some starts and stops, particularly one caused by John’s two-year tour of  duty in the United States Army, which took him to Arkansas for basic training and eventually a 13-month stay in Germany.

Rose Mary told John she would write to him every day and she did, along with sending periodic packages. Mail call was very important to our troops and was a large part of our sometimes lonely days.

One package I particularly remember was a box that was full of newspapers, which at first glance appeared to be packing material. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be newspaper headlines, describing how the Brooklyn Dodgers (Rose Mary’s team) beat the New York Yankees (John’s team) in the World Series for the first time. That particular package was not appreciated, but all the others were.

John was transferred from Germany to Fort Ord, California for completion of duty and eventual discharge. Rose Mary and John were married while on leave — on April 7, 1956 — then drove to California for John to complete his term of service.

After that, they drove to the Capital District to begin their family lives. Their marriage has been blessed with seven children, 14 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

After moving to Voorheesville, the family became very involved in the community. Rose Mary loved  teaching and, while raising her family, managed to get a master’s degree in education at the University at Albany and subbed many times at the Voorheesville Elementary School.

She volunteered at St. Matthew’s Church, teaching religious education for 14 years, and helping with other functions, including co-chairing the annual Craft Fair on one occasion. She was also a member of the food pantry for 25 years.

John continued to work at becoming established in his insurance business. He served as president of the Schenectady Life Insurance Underwriters, and as regional vice president of the New York State Life  Insurance Underwriters.

He volunteered at St. Matthew’s as a lector, lay minister, trustee, and president of the Holy Name Society. John was a member of the Voorheesville School Board for nine years, and served on the village’s zoning board of appeals for 15 years. John is a past president and 50-year member of the New Scotland Kiwanis club.

The Zongrone children also contributed to the school and community as Girl Scouts, cheerleaders, one  valedictorian, one salutatorian, and one MVP basketball player in the Colonial Council.

This is the summation of a happy and productive marriage, which began a long time ago with a glance in  a college classroom and with love and determination has persisted for 65 years.

— John Zongrone

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.