Neither Mickey nor Carol Felix knows the name of the woman who introduced them to each other nearly 70 years ago, but the couple is thankful she did.
The longtime Oak Harbor residents will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on July 15.
The decades-long romance started on a plane. George “Mickey” Felix was flying home after visiting some high school friends. When he struck up a conversation with the couple from Downey, Calif. seated next to him, the woman told him, “I have a lovely girl I want you to meet,” he recalled.
Carol Felix grew up in Downey, Calif. She met the mystery matchmaker while she was waiting for the school bus and the woman was working in her yard.
“I guess she knew enough about me to think I was lovely,” Carol Felix laughed.
It took a few months, but the couple finally went on their first date in October 1950. They went to the Long Beach Pier when she was 16 years old and he was 21.
“I got her on a rollercoaster,” Mickey Felix grinned.
His wife quickly added: “Never again.”
They were married the following July after she graduated from high school. They spent their honeymoon at Yosemite National Park. Mickey Felix had 10 days’ leave from the U.S. Marine Corps. Towards the end of the trip, he received a telegram stating that he had another 10 days’ leave because he would soon be shipped out to Korea to fight in the war.
“The first year was tough,” Carol Felix said. “We didn’t have communication as they do nowadays.”
They spent most of their first year of marriage almost 6,000 miles apart.
She recalled waiting as soldiers disembarked the ship once they finally came home. She didn’t see her husband at first and began to worry.
“We were the last bunch off the boat in San Francisco,” he said.
Catching a glimpse, Carol Felix was quick to greet her husband.
“They tell me that when I saw him, I took off under the rope, knocked a Marine down, and found him,” she said.
The couple stayed in California for several years and he began working for GTE Corporation. They had five children. After a while, they wanted to move away from California and went on vacation to Washington state, and they loved it.
Although they wanted to move to the Pacific Northwest, they had to wait for a few years. He moved up north first, and she stayed in California with their children, waiting for the house to sell. Eventually, they both said they felt called by God to move the entire family of seven to Whidbey Island despite their home still being for sale.
They moved to Oak Harbor on Halloween in 1965. Back then, there was only one traffic light on Highway 20, Mickey Felix said, and Midway Boulevard was just two lanes.
Their five children graduated from Oak Harbor High School. Mickey Felix finished 30 years with GTE Corporation, and the couple started volunteering full time with Mobile Missionary Assistance Program.
They sold almost all of their possessions and traveled the United States in an RV to help churches and Christian organizations, including Union Gospel Mission in Seattle. They helped with 76 projects in 19 years. They retired from volunteer work in 2008 and moved back to the Cherry Hill neighborhood.
“It was like our second honeymoon. We had no furniture,” Mickey Felix said.
Now they spend most of their time with their five children, 12 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren and their church, Living Word Foursquare Church. The couple will spend a few days with their family to celebrate their anniversary.
The Felixs’ marriage advice is simple.
“Be friends and stay close to the Lord,” she said, with her husband nodding in agreement.