Long Road of Love


Deciding on a whim to accept a blind date July 4, 1949 turned into a 66-year adventure for Shirley and Frank Miner, who will be celebrating their anniversary on Feb. 25.

“We just had chemistry,” Shirley said with a twinkle in her eyes.

Now in their 90s, the couple share adjoining rooms at the Village. Seeing the two together, it is very clear that chemistry has held up over time.

Shirley, 23 at the time, worked as a stenographer in Seattle. Her co-worker was throwing a Fourth of July barbecue, and encouraged her to attend to meet a 24-year-old Frank who worked for her husband. She was hesitant at the time, but now advises people to accept blind dates because you never know what will happen.

“There were two other single men at the party,” Frank recalled. “I was sitting there in the kitchen eating chicken. The other two were drinking, and she chose me. I think it was because of the chicken.”

“It’s true,” Shirley said, “I never liked drinking.”

Things were off to a good start between the couple, but Shirley went on a week-long vacation shortly after the barbecue.

“We just hit it off, so I tried calling her as soon as she was due home,” Frank said.

Unfortunately her small apartment didn’t have a phone. She used the phone of her aunt and uncle, who lived next door. Frank’s messages were not getting through. He decided to try one final time. This time her relatives not only answered, but were able to get Shirley from her apartment. If that hadn’t occurred, their lives might look more than a little different. Instead, six months later they married.

Shirley and Frank had a similar vision for their future: stability. Having moved around frequently as children, especially Frank, the two agreed they wanted to set roots where their children could finish all their school years.

In 1975, they came to the San Juans on business and found themselves spontaneously in a real estate office asking to look at property. They bought a lot at Eagle Cove and built a house, where they lived for 40 years. Frank opened FM Roofing and Shirley became his bookkeeper. As their family grew with three sons, they spent as much time as possible outside, especially on their boat,“The Miner Five.”

The Miners are a couple with boundless energy, much to the benefit of the community. Frank simultaneously served as Fire Chief and Commander of the American Legion from 1979-1989, and Shirley, also involved in the American Legion, volunteered for numerous other charities.

Life has slowed down a bit as the Miners have gotten older. Their boys grew and began families of their own, making the Miners not just grandparents but great-grandparents. Shirley spends much of her time with the elderly, encouraging them to continue using their minds through coloring or assorted craft projects.

Shirley said of the key to a good relationship, “I think it’s important to get to know each other first. Become friends before you become lovers.”