It started with a blind date. Bert was instantly attracted to the pretty, attentive, down-to-earth girl. Betty was impressed with the good-looking gentlemen who was noted for his ambition. One year later, on June 29, 1947, Bert Beswick and Betty Needle became Mr. & Mrs., married by Reverend Stratton in Madrid’s Methodist parsonage. It was a quiet wedding with their honor attendants, Helen Beswick and George Koch. Now they are celebrating their 70th anniversary.
Burton Taylor Beswick, was born in 1921, the eldest of four, to Lola and Morris Beswick, of Madrid. Elizabeth Ann Needle was born in 1926, one of five, to Stanley and Adelaide Needle, of Depeyster.
After a honeymoon to Niagara Falls, the newlyweds settled into a little gray 18-foot trailer and life took off at a fast pace. Bert worked in a gas station, did custom farm work, and drove school bus. In 1949, Bert purchased a Shell gas station and from there he led Betty through many spontaneous ventures as he climbed the business ladder to success. On their 25th anniversary, Bert’s sister, Helen, wrote a poem depicting all the life-changes so far and commending Betty for her resiliency as Bert announced one venture after another. Highlights included buying a Hudson franchise, Bert’s Appliance Store, and the B & L Restaurant co-owned with Doc Livingston. In 1963 Bert joined the St. Lawrence Natural Gas Company, working first in Massena and later in Ogdensburg, retiring after 20 good years in 1983.
Bert and Betty raised two daughters, Bonny born October 1948 on Bert’s birthday, and Marilyn born in August 1950. When expecting Marilyn, it was time to build another addition on to the gas station/garage, this time a little home for the expanding family. Later they moved to downtown Madrid into the apartment building Bert had purchased. In 1957 Bert announced to Betty that he had bought a beautiful home on Main Street for the family. They moved the next day. In 1962, Nan Trabolt, an exchange student from Denmark joined the family. Still today, Nan and her family are considered a treasured part of Bert and Betty’s family.
Betty was a true homemaker, nurturing her girls, cooking, sewing for herself and the girls, and often sharing her hospitality. There is an embroidered plaque in their home that says, “The best things you can give your children are roots and wings.” Most definitely, this was accomplished. Later, Betty worked in Canton for several years, finishing with 17 years at the Cooperative Extension and retiring in 1983.
Community involvement was big in Bert and Betty’s life. Bert has served as volunteer fireman, school board member for 35 years, town clerk, Lions Club, library board and Masons. Bert was instrumental in the grand opening in 1960 of the re-established Madrid golf course. Betty became a Girl Scout leader in 1955 and was much later honored for her 35 years of leadership. Both Bert and Betty are committed members of their church, serving in many areas.
Their hobbies are many. Bert was a true home-improvement man, capable of building anything, including beautiful furniture and toys. Betty enjoyed many hobbies including oil painting and still loves sewing and quilting. They both enjoyed gardening, golfing, and playing bridge, and joining the Antique Car Club with their 1924 Model-T. They have traveled to many places including Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Italy, Denmark, and to Washington State many times to visit the home of oldest daughter Bonny. Another favorite place is Cape Cod, where their daughter Marilyn lives.
Bert and Betty moved again after the girls were gone, this time establishing a beautiful home in the country near the farm where Bert grew up. After retirement, they bought a winter home in Ruskin, Florida, where they still go when the snow begins to fall.
Today Bert and Betty live back in town, keeping up their small home and lovely yard and remaining involved in their community. They enjoy breakfast out every morning with Madrid’s “Breakfast Club” at the Hometown Café. They play bridge every week, are active volunteers at The North Country Museum, and still enjoy a bit of gardening. They challenge each other in a game of Scrabble Upwords every evening before dinner. They say the key to “keeping-on” is to start everyday “looking for something to do."
Throughout the years, milestone anniversaries have been celebrated. On their 50th anniversary, Bert and Bert went on an Alaskan cruise. In the spring of 2016, Bert and Betty gathered at the Green Mountain Suites in Burlington, Vt. with their daughters and families. They have five grandchildren (two grandsons in heaven) and three great grandchildren, and one expected in time for Christmas.
Bert and Betty’s daughters arrived the end of May for family time together. They are grateful to the community of Madrid for celebrating Bert and Betty in grand style. It started with The United Church of Madrid Family, celebrating them on Sunday, June 25. Friends gathered to surprise them when they showed up for their usual Wednesday night spaghetti at the Madrid Hotel. Then, Wayne Day arrived in his 1921 Model-T to chauffeur them to the evening “Music in the Park." On the morning of their anniversary, it was not breakfast as usual at the Hometown Café. It was an unforgettable time with Madrid friends, celebrating Bert and Betty’s 70 years of steadfast love and extending themselves above and beyond wherever they go.