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Couple shares secrets behind 80-year marriage

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CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – At 102 years old, Gene Baxter has a thing or two to teach young folks about the art of courting.

It all started when a young woman walked into the car dealership where he worked, looking for a heater for her car.

That was January 17, 1936.

“My youngest brother said you should have been here, a girl brought in a Ford pickup. Slickest chick you’d ever seen — sexy looking, he said,” Gene Baxter told KCRG in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Baxter found Vern Ann Hering with her friends nearby, and he offered to show her the town.

Turns out that Hering had some smarts of her own.

She coyly agreed, even though she had family who lived in town and already knew all about the place. “We looked at it as if we hadn’t seen it before,” she told the Cedar Rapids Gazette newspaper.

They started dating and were married on August 22, 1936. They’ll celebrate their 80th anniversary this year.

“She just hung right onto me. She met (me) on the 17th of January, and boy she got me married the 22nd of August,” Gene Baxter told KCRG.

The couple traveled, had three children and still tease each other.

“We both got older and smarter. She has been real good — a terrific wife,” he said. “Couldn’t ask for anything better.”