Couple celebrate 70 years of bliss

Couple celebrate 70 years of bliss

Fred and Adele Shwaery wave to passersby as a motorcade of well-wishers drive by their house on June 14. The couple were celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary. Also sitting under the tent is Fred’s sister. (Breeze photos by Robert Emerson)

PAWTUCKET – Frederick Shwaery and Adele Habib met at a bowling alley in Pawtucket in 1950, tied the knot five months later, and even after 70 years of marriage, Shwaery said he still thinks of his wife as his sweetheart.

“I wouldn’t change my life at all,” he told The Breeze during a 70th anniversary celebration at the couple’s house on Flint Street in Pawtucket on June 14. “I wouldn’t want another sweetheart.”

As the Shwaerys, both in their early 90s, sat in their kitchen that day, they held hands, waiting for their family and friends to drive by in a car parade to celebrate their milestone in an appropriately distanced manner.

“We were able to get along very well,” Shwaery said, adding that he and his wife had little disagreements but never argued. “That was one of the reasons why we’ve had such a long, good life together. … We’re very, very happy we were able to live this long.”

At 12:30 p.m., they were led outside by a bagpiper to their driveway where a pop-up tent was set up to shade them. They waved from their chairs to loved ones driving by, some displaying signs and others holding flowers or flags, many honking their horns.

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With the sun shining, their neighbors were also outside and the Shwaerys said those neighbors had spent the last few days cleaning and clearing their own yards for the event.

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien sent the couple a citation to congratulate them on their anniversary, which Adele said was “wonderful.” A family friend also gave a short speech and said a prayer.

The couple’s granddaughter, Kristen Silva, organized the event, and said that a big celebration had been planned but had to be tweaked due to social distancing restrictions. Family and friends came from all over to wave and see them.

The couple have three children, four grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren, which Shwaery credits as another key to his and Adele’s long life. “They’re always around us,” he said about his children. “Even the grandchildren, they’re always around us. And the great-grandchildren are getting to be the same way.”

In January 1950, Shwaery, who was born in Pawtucket in 1929, and Adele, who was born in Montreal in 1928, met when the St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church’s youth group went bowling at Darlington Lanes on Central Avenue. Adele had been living with an aunt and uncle in North Providence who were members of the church, as was Shwaery’s family.

The two hit it off and married on June 14 of that same year. They spent two years living in Montreal and had their first child, Linda (Dvelis), before moving to Pawtucket. They had two more children, Frederick Jr. and Robert. “We really had fantastic children,” Shwaery said.

They lived on Grand Avenue and then Carter Avenue before purchasing their first home on Orms Street and then building their second home on Flint Street in Darlington, where they still live.

Linda Dvelis is active in all sorts of local causes, including frequent baking with the women of St. Mary’s.

Shwaery worked in retail at Kirby’s before opening Sunkist Farms on the corner of Armistice Boulevard and Littlefield Street. After closing the fruit and vegetable store, he became regional manager for the Mammoth Mart retail stores. Adele worked at Star Market in Attleboro, Mass., and at Arbeka Webbing in Pawtucket.

In 1970 the couple opened Frederick Michaels Sports and Play on Main Street in Taunton, Mass.

They still belong to St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, where Shwaery served on the parish council and committees from 1955 to 2013. He is in the Order of St. Ignatius and was presented the Antonian Silver Medal of Honor.

He co-ran the Looff Carousel and the boats in Slater Park for five years. He belonged to E.L.Freeman Lodge in Pawtucket as a Mason, Knight Templer and Shriner.

Adele advocated for troubled youth, often acting as a surrogate parent feeding, clothing and giving much needed advice, her daughter Linda said. “She also was a pioneer in advocating for children with developmental and physical disabilities to have schooling and day programs.”

After staying home for months due to the ongoing pandemic, which made them a little lonesome, Shwaery said he and his wife were happy to get to be a little more social during the celebration.

Adele has not been feeling well lately, so Shwaery said he’s been taking care of her.

“I’m here for her all the time. … I don’t want it any other way,” he said. “I want to be with her all the time … and take care of her. And she helps me. … We do well together.”

Fred Shwaery holds the hand of his wife Adele while a priest bestows a blessing on them before their 70th wedding anniversary celebration at their house in Pawtucket.
Fred and Adele Shwaery wave and enjoy the parade of well wishers passing by their driveway on June 14, as their first-born daughter Linda Dvelis greets the cars and hands out cookies. The couple were married in Canada 70 years ago on June 14.
Fred and Adele Shwaery wave to passersby as a motorcade of well-wishers passes their house.