50 years knitting a golden marriage.

On 12 November 2010, Jimmy and Gina Stolfo celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at Doutta Galla Queens Park aged care facility. Surrounded by their family, friends and fellow residents, it was a grand celebration of many years of happiness together. Doutta Galla CEO, Mark Anderson, said it was inspiring to see a couple so in-tune with each other.

“Gina and Jimmy have been with us at Doutta Galla Queens Park for the past five years, and it’s wonderful to see their dedication to one another,” he said.

Gina, now 69 years old, first met Jimmy when she was 15 years old, shortly after arriving in Australia from Italy in 1956.

“Jimmy was working at a brickyard with my brother, but it was not until two years later that we started to go out together,” Mrs Stolfo said.

Gina and Jimmy married in a small ceremony at St Francis Church in Wentworth (NSW) in 1960.

“It was a very rainy day and we had to walk about 1km from the wedding reception to get home,” Mrs Stolfo said.  “I had my hair done for the ceremony, which was a real treat back then, but, by the time I made it home, my hair was completely flat!”

Far from a bad omen, the Stolfo’s lifelong partnership has been anything but supine. The young family moved from their country home in Wentworth to Melbourne in 1972 to give their children a better education. Asked for tips on how to keep a marriage alive, Mrs Stolfo said the secret to a long-lasting bond is give and take.

“My mother used to always tell me, ‘marriage is a piece of knitting, you’ll do it and undo it a million times’,” she said.

Knitting was certainly a dominant theme for those early years in Melbourne when Gina would sew the holes in Jimmy’s clothes – the family budget didn’t extend to new clothes.

In 1984, Gina opened her very own leadlighting business, which was ‘a dream come true’.

“I loved seeing the happy expressions of my customers when they saw the final product I had made them,” she said. “I kept busy with my business while Jimmy worked as a factory worker at a metal manufacturing plant before he retired in 1993.”

Mrs Stolfo said the birth and rearing of three children was the most beautiful experience she has shared with her husband. She is now the proud grandmother of four grandchildren. Gina describes her husband as a very skilled lawn bowler and keen dart player.

Jimmy, now 82 years old, was diagnosed with dementia in 2000, and moved to Queen’s Park facility in 2005, while Gina moved into the independent living units next door to ensure she could continue spending her days in the company of her husband.

Doutta Galla is a well managed aged care provider employing an experienced team of nurses and carers. The organisation delivers consistent, high quality care and a broad range of accommodation options designed with resident comfort and individual needs in mind. Recognised for programs of diverse lifestyle activities, Doutta Galla listens to residents and families, providing welcome support, advice and opportunities to get the most out of life.

Ellis Jones provides public relations, photography and media services to Doutta Galla.

image credit: Joseph Sakalak