Former Kent State students celebrate 60th wedding anniversary

The+Black+Squirrel+Gift+Shop+in+downtown+Kent%2C+Ohio+on+Wednesday%2C+Feb.+10%2C+2016.

The Black Squirrel Gift Shop in downtown Kent, Ohio on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016.

Jimmy Miller

When Patricia Barry is asked about her days at Kent State, she simply says she had a fun time. Any details beyond that, she refrains from sharing, laughing instead as she repeats, “It was a lot of fun.”

What Patricia can say, however, is how much she appreciates her involvement with the Delta Gamma sorority. She can describe winning the Military Ball Queen in 1953 and what it was like to be an art major at Kent State. Then, most importantly, she can talk about meeting Donald Barry through a mutual friend, who set them up together for a fraternity dance.

Donald and Patricia Barry are set to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on Feb.25, but without Kent State, they likely would’ve never met, nor would they have had their four children and eight grandchildren.

Although she attended Kent State for just a year, the byproduct remains an important part of her life.

“I started going with Don when he was a junior at Kent (State), so we waited until he graduated and then we got married,” Patricia said. “Going to Kent State was a really good experience, though I don’t want to go into any particulars.”

Both from the Cleveland area, Donald and Patricia attended different high schools but came to Kent State because they could stay close to their families. Donald wrestled for the university until graduation in 1955, and he was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Meanwhile, Patricia lived in a freshman dorm for just a year before leaving the school to do secretary work for a variety of administrative companies. At the time, she might not have known it, but she’d be spending a lot of her time raising children just years later.

On Feb. 25, 1956, despite heavy rain and snow, Donald and Patricia wed in Euclid.  

“I guess (the weather) is good luck, or that’s what they tell me anyhow,” Donald said.

Donald’s involvement with the military and subsequent 33-year marketing employment at Mobile Oil Corporation took the couple out of Ohio to Illinois, Virginia, and, to cap the series of moving back and forth, to Grand Blanc, Michigan.

It’s been at least five years since Donald or Patricia have been to Kent, but they’ve still got plenty of ties to the area.  

“I still know some of the fellas on the old wrestling team, so we go back to meetings there,” Donald said. “We used to go back more, but it’s quite a distance to come back.”

Now, with Valentine’s Day here and just days away from their milestone anniversary, Donald and Patricia prepare to celebrate. They’ll be going out to dinner with their kids to celebrate the marriage, as cold weather in Michigan will inhibit them from doing anything outdoors.

“Obviously we love each other very much. It’s been great, really,” Donald said. “It’s not all joy, but you know, we really do get along.”

Jimmy Miller is the managing editor of The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]