When Delmer and Marie Bault make a commitment, it’s for the long haul.
They lived in the same 24th Street home in Spokane Valley for 60 years.
They have attended the same church, Greenacres Christian Fellowship, since they were married (in Delmer’s case going on 78 years).
Most important, they have been married 74 years this past December.
So when they were looking for a home to transition to for their next phase of life, they made sure the choice was one that would stick. The 95-year-old Delmer and his 91-year-old bride will tell you they chose well with Liberty Lake’s Guardian Angel Homes. The couple started out in an independent living arrangement before moving to assisted living last year after Marie broke her hip. The entertainment options, provided transportation and great friendships are favorite aspects of Guardian Angel life, and the delicious food received special mention.
“If I want to cook, I can; I haven’t wanted to yet,” Marie said to laughter. “There are good cooks here. I’ve gained weight.”
Guardian Angel Homes Administrator Joan Estudillo said the Baults are an inspiring couple to the staff and other residents, so much so that they surprised the couple with a 74th anniversary party in December.
“They are a lesson on how love can endure,” she said. “People do stay together these days. Relationships do endure, and people can still love each other after many years.”
To the Baults, enduring love has come with a good sense of humor, a strong faith and a commitment to work through disagreements without letting problems fester.
“We try to agree,” Delmer said. “We didn’t always hold to it, but mother always said, ‘Never go to bed without making up.’”
Grandson Rob Bault notes the outward-focused activities of the couple continually united them over the years, whether that was taking people to church, visiting nursing homes (where Marie would play the piano) or serving local nonprofits like UGM, his grandparents were always putting others first.
“I describe them to my family or friends who don’t know them as probably the strongest people I’ve ever seen in their Christian belief,” he said. “If you want to look up a definition of true Christian, it’s going to have their names on it.”
The couple enjoyed a short engagement before being married in 1945. They had a son, and Marie looked after him and watched many other children in the Spokane Valley community while Delmer pursued a career in the railroad and with Inland Empire Paper. They spent decades serving the greater Spokane community, often quietly behind the scenes, before deciding a couple of years ago it was time to move into Guardian Angel.
The hardest part was the month they spent apart after Marie’s broken hip, when she was at a rehabilitation facility. While Rob and the Guardian Angel staff moved the Baults into an assisted-living apartment to ease Marie’s return, Delmer visited Marie every day, all day, taking his meals there before returning back to Guardian Angel in the evening. Rob said he could tell this period was rough on his grandfather, who was used to life alongside his 74-year companion. For her part, Marie jokes with Delmer about his missed opportunity to be “footloose and fancy free,” but quickly turns sentimental.
“I’d be lost if I didn’t have him,” she said. “I don’t know if I could live even a week without him, not seeing him.”
NOTE: A version of this article first appeared in the 2020 Liberty Lake Yearbook.