Seven decades of visits to Kennywood

Written by Julia Rendleman on .


Eugene and Martha Williams marked their 70th wedding anniversary in March. To celebrate, the couple made their annual visit to Kennywood today.

Their daughter, Gretchen Arrant, said her father grew up in Fayette City, and would come to the park as a kid, eventually bringing his own children.

Even after the family moved to Texas, the yearly visits continued. Eugene, now 94, was a chaplain in the Air Force, which meant the family moved around a lot, Arrant said. But they kept making their annual pilgrimage to western Pennsylvania.

"It's a family tradition," Eugene said.

Arrant said her family now lives in Denton, Texas, not far from the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park, but Kennywood remains the family favorite.

Kennywood spokesman Jeff Filicko said the couple's nephew, Michael McCormick, of Bethesda, Ohio, sent an email to the park's management earlier this year. They wanted to wait until the whole family could be together, but planned a big outing to celebrate the Williams' anniversary.

"There were about 20 of them, with grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even great great-grandchildren," Filicko said. Kennywood management provided a golf cart, to make getting around a little easier, and presented the couple with a special certificate of recognition.

"They seemed really delighted," Filicko said.

Martha, 90, recalled the first time they brought Gretchen to Kennywood as a child, and she rode the carousel 27 times without getting off.

"That's something you never forget," Martha said, "As long as we have breath, we'll be here."

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