A blind date blossomed into 67 years of marriage for Fran and Pat Manchik of Richmond. Their love story began when they were set up in 1952 by Pat’s best friend, Ruth Ann (Ruthie) Riedel. Four years later, on June 23, they were married at St. Augustine Church in Richmond. It was a bittersweet day Pat recalls.

“Mom’s funeral was earlier that week on Wednesday, and our wedding was Saturday,” she remembers. “When she passed, we thought about postponing the wedding.” They decided instead to scale back their reception, opting for a small breakfast after the ceremony with close family and friends.

“We were shooting from the hip back then.” Fran mused. “Heading home, our muffler fell off. There I was on the roadside in my tux with Pat in the car in her wedding dress counting our money to see if we had enough to get the car fixed and still go up north for our honeymoon.”

They did and then came home to their first apartment in Richmond. A year later the babies started coming along – three in three years. They welcomed their fourth child in 1966.

In 1974, Pat shared her dream of going back to school to become a nurse. A young mother with four kids going back to school? Fran didn’t think twice supporting the idea. Neither could have foreseen that Pat, thanks to her nursing training and experience, would literally bring Fran back to life after a cardiac arrest at their home in 1987.

He recalled “Being a nurse was something Pat really wanted to do, I would have never said no to that. She’s supported me just the same whenever I wanted to do something that was productive for the family.”

That included supporting Fran’s decisions to leave Michigan Bell, purchase his brother’s used semi-truck in 1964, and ultimately starting a trucking company, Richmond Transport, in 1980. Fran retired in 1999 but the four kids continued until recently selling the family business after 43 years.

The Manchiks count family among their greatest blessings and have watched their family grow with 11 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. “We’ve stayed close,” says Fran. “When it comes to our family, I like to say, ‘there are some that are just as good but there’s none better.’”

With busy lives and a big, close knit family, Fran and Pat always made time for each other. One of their favorite date nights was an evening of dancing. “We used to dance all night!” remembers Pat.

Grateful for their Catholic faith as the foundation of their marriage, “Our love is really deep,” said Pat. Fran added, “We’ve had more good times than bad times. Any marriage has both, but no matter what, we always stayed together. It has been a good ride.”

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