Worldwide Marriage encounter, the original faith-based marriage enrichment program in the United States, has announced the state winners of the 2013 Longest Married Couple Project.
John and Katherine Zinkus of New Martinsville have been named as the known longest married couple in the state of West Virginia. They have been married 71 years and will celebrate 72 years on April 27, 2013. The state winners have two children: Carol in Maryland and John in Virginia. They have four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. They have been members of the St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in New Martinsville for over 50 years. Mr. Zinkus worked in the Bingo project for many years and Mrs. Zinkus was active in Catholic Daughters of America. They are both 94 years old and still live in their own home.
Hundreds of nominations were received in this year's project. Winners were announced this month.
Katherine and John Zinkus
The West Virginia couple achieved the honor of being the Longest Married Couple based on nominations submitted to Worldwide Marriage Encounter beginning October last year. The nomination project ended on Jan. 10. The Zinkus nomination was submitted by their daughter who saw the contest advertised in her parish, Our Mother of Sorrows, in Centreville, Md. "I decided to enter the contest for my parents, then forgot all about it. I was totally surprised when I received the call that they had won in West Virginia," she said.
The presentation of gifts and certificates were presented to the Zinkuses on March 16 at their home in New Martinsville.
Worldwide Marriage Encounter created the project to highlight marriage in America and to show young couples that marriage really can go to the distance. "What an inspiration Mr. and Mrs. Zinkus are to all of us," noted the organization. They made a commitment to each other 71 years ago and they have kept that commitment over these years. They are truly a sign of hope to all of us."
The longest married couple in the United States are John and Ann Betar of Fairfield, Conn. They have been married 80 years as of November 2012.