Richard and Sheryl (Smith) Downing celebrated their 50th anniversary with a dinner party attended by family and friends. The event was hosted by their daughter, Michelle, and their son-in-law. They've kept in touch all these years with Sheryl's maid of honor, Roslyn Ball, and were delighted she was able to attend the party.

The couple met at a holiday party given by Sheryl. On their first date, they spent New Year's Eve together at Disneyland. One of their favorite activities on their subsequent dates was going to the beach because Richard enjoyed surfing. After going together for a year, they were married at Salem Lutheran Church in Whittier.

They lived in Whittier and Southern California until 1972, when they moved to Santa Rosa. They relocated to Tennessee and lived in a log cabin on a lake at the foot of the Smoky Mountains for seven years. In 2010, they moved back to Santa Rosa so they could be closer to their family.

Sheryl was employed as a nurse. Richard was an electrical engineer.

Family members include: daughter, Michelle Buegeleis?, and her husband, Ken, of Sebastopol; daughter, Kristen, of Sebastopol; and son, Ben, of Santa Rosa. They have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

For many years, both have enjoyed gold panning in the California hills. After retirement, Richard took up photography as a hobby and they traveled across the U.S. several times.

Their advice for a long and happy marriage is, "Nothing lasts forever, neither the good times nor the bad times. There's always a new day."