David and Mary Ruiz celebrate 50 years

David Ruiz and Mary Irene Cortez were married Oct. 21, 1961. They met at a dance in Earlimart, Calif. Irene was 20 years old and David was 22 but by then he had already served four years in the U.S. Navy on the USS Columbus and USS Saint Paul.

The couple was stationed at the naval base in San Diego, Calif., where their daughter Tracey, the first of their five children, was born. Over the next 14 years, David moved up the enlisted ranks to Master Chief Petty Officer and served on the USS Coral Sea CVA-43, USS Ranger CVA-61, USS Shasta AE-33 and USS Mars AFS-1.

At home, Irene managed a household of four children: Tracey, Irene, David, Jr. and Christopher. She worked in the banking industry and was involved in community activities including Navy Wives, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Little League and PTA. In 1978, David was commissioned and assigned to the USS Coral Sea as stores officer and the family relocated to the Naval Base Bangor. It was in Bangor in 1979 that their fifth child, Victoria, was born.

In 1984, David was promoted to lieutenant and assigned to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station as the officer in charge of the NEX and commissary. David retired from the US Navy in 1987 but continued to work for the government on foreign assignments.

David and Irene returned to Whidbey in 2000 where David served in a civilian capacity as the general manager of the Navy Exchange until his retirement in 2002. They will celebrate with their family on Whidbey and on the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas.


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