NEWPORT, Ind (WTWO-WAWV) — Laughter remains part of the lives of Paul and Ruth West. He’s 100, she’s 93 and they’ve been married 76 years. They started dating after his time in the Army during World War II, but they say it wasn’t love at first sight.

“I wasn’t really interested, he’s older than me,” said Ruth West.

“She caught my eye, all 76 years of it,” said Paul West.

Paul was born in Newport and one of his earliest memories was riding to school in the cold in the back of a horse drawn wagon.

He was drafted into the Army in 1943 and eventually ended up in Europe as part of Patton’s
Third Army. He operated an 800 million candle searchlight as part of Artificial Moonlight. At night, he would bounce the intense light off clouds which illuminated the ground below for bridge repairs or even as way to see the enemy. It was dangerous, because of artillery shells or mortars. Many mornings he would see the casualties inflicted during the night.

“Maybe 12 or 15 a night got killed during the night, said Paul. It makes you feel sad because you don’t know you might be laying there the next night.”

After the war, he went back home and worked several jobs including at a grocery store where
he met Ruth. The two were married and had two children Linda and Dean.

Military service continued, because he stayed in the Reserves. During the Korean War he didn’t serve in Korea, instead he spent a couple of years in France helping repair runways and other things damaged during World War II.

After his time in France, the Staff Sgt. retuned to his family, and the youngest, Randy was
born to the couple.

Eventually he landed a job at food manufacture and worked for many years as pipe fitter.
Randy and grandson Jordan live close by and they help Paul and Ruth

‘We got him to 100 and get her to 100 we want to get them to their 80th anniversary and then see where we go from there, said Randy West.

“A big inspiration for me is my dad taking care of them It’s hard to say how long they would
have lived without him, said Jordan West.

At 100, Paul doesn’t have a secret to a long life.

“I did everything I wasn’t supposed to do, smoked cigarettes, chewed tobacco,” said Paul.

One thing he continues to do, and has for 76 years and counting , is continue his marriage to a
wife who is younger.