Pat and Ernie Suggs, of Washougal, recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
In the summer of 1963 at Yosemite National Park, Pat and Ernie met for the very first time. Pat was in Girl Scouts and Ernie was in Boy Scouts. The boys played a friendly game of poker and the winner got first pick of which girl they wanted. Ernie won and the rest is history. After getting to know each other, they discovered that they only lived about 20 miles apart. They exchanged addresses and phone numbers before heading home. They were allowed to see each other once a week. In August of 1963, Ernie made it official and asked Pat to go steady by giving her his St. Christopher medal. Later he gave her his class ring, which she only wore at school because she didn’t want her parents to see. Pat and Ernie both knew they’d be getting married; it was just a matter of time.
On Dec. 3, 1966, Ernie and Pat were married in an Episcopalian church in Inglewood, California. The bridal party consisted of Albert Toy (best man) Tom Schaeffer, Charlie Cover and Kenny Hamblin. The bridesmaids were Laurette Schumacher (maid of honor), Judy Eng, Katie Morris and Jennifer Suggs.
Ernie and Pat started their married life by going to college. Both received degrees from Brigham Young University and Ernie was offered a job in Camas, as the community education director, from which he retired from in 2006. They moved to Washougal in August 1975 with their 9-day-old daughter Lori. Five more girls followed: Kari in 1977, Melanie in 1979, Christi in 1981, Traci in 1983 and Jodi in 1985.
Over the years, they have encountered and met many people, they have served three service missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and they volunteer with local organizations throughout Camas and Washougal. They stay very busy with their 14 grandkids (and two more on the way).
It was fate that brought them together at Yosemite National Park 53 years ago, and faith has kept them together 50 years later.