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SJB Couple is Golden Together

On March 18, long-time, San Juan residents, Frank and Carmen Pérez, will celebrate 50 yrs. of marriage
Frank and Carmen Pérez on the day of their wedding, March 18, 1968. Photo courtesy of Carmen Pérez.
Carmen and Frank Pérez at Mission San Juan Bautista. Photo courtesy of Donna Silva (DLynn Photography).
The Pérez family at the 2016 New York City Marathon (from left: father Frank, son Frank, daughter Michelle Pérez-Picha, mother Carmen, and daughter Donna Silva). Photo courtesy of Frank Pérez.

In honor of Valentines Day, BenitoLink asked the reporter team if they could come up with any all-time great couples to write about. Reporter Frank Perez lit up right away and suggested a story on his parents.

The Mission San Juan Bautista, parish priest told the then-nineteen year old, Carmen Castañeda, and then-twenty-one year old, Frank Pérez, that they were too incompatible, urging the young couple to reconsider marriage and part ways. Frank and Carmen defiantly left the church, determined to become husband and wife.

Next month, the long-time, San Juan residents—who are also my parents—will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

In a joint interview, Mom and Dad called each other “soulmates,” who first met as kids, dated on and off as teens, and resumed their relationship as young adults.

My mother’s freckled-face caught Dad’s attention early on, he told me.

“He used to chase me around,” Mom said, adding that Dad’s persistence and honesty soon won her over.

On March 18, 1968, my parents entered a San Jose courthouse and recited their vows in the building’s basement along with several other couples.

Driving home the newlyweds began a journey that continues nearly 50 yrs. later.

They admit there has been bumps along the way, but they are quick to note the secret of their marriage.

“Patience and knowing that you’re not always going to get your way,” Mom said.

“At times you need agree to disagree, while understanding that there’s no such thing as a perfect marriage,” stated Dad.

Only until recently have the retirees reflected on the longevity of their union.

“How many marriages make it half a century?” Dad asked rhetorically.

“You don’t realize it’s been that long,” explained Mom, adding that everyday life—raising children, going to work, and paying bills—negates tallying up the good and bad times.

And what are my parents most proud of?

“Our three kids. They are good people,” Mom quickly answered, while Dad, sipping his nighttime coffee, nodded in agreement. 


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Frank Pérez (fjperez)

I’m a lifelong resident of San Benito County. I reside in Hollister with my wife, Brenda. I’m embarking on my 19th year at San Benito High School, where I teach world history and Mexican-American history. In addition, I'm moonlighting as a freelance journalist for BenitoLink. My passion is delving deeper into the nuances of the local, historical record, while including lesser-known stories of our past. My hope is that county residents will have a greater appreciation for the diversity and complexity of San Benito County, realizing that its uniqueness depends upon our responsibility as its stewards.


Congratulations on a job well done, Carmen and Frank, not only on your enduring marriage but also on your loving family -- Frank the younger is a great example!


Submitted by (Amber Phillips) on

It's an honor to know such a genuine, loving, and amazing couple! Happy anniversary Frank & Carmen!

Submitted by (Brenda Pérez) on

I couldn't dream of having more loving, caring, and giving in-laws. And most importantly, they're great role-models of what marriage should be.

Love them both very much!!

A great story and congratulations!

It just goes to prove that you can't go very wrong if you follow your true heart.

The Richmans

Submitted by (Janie Lausten) on

Happy anniversary Carmen and Frank. I worked with Carmen for about 40 years. Always good natured, smart, and hard working. A real delightful woman. Love the story. Wishing the " soulmates " another 50 years.

Submitted by (Janie Lausten) on

Happy Anniversary Carmen and Frank. I worked with Carmen for about 40 years. A good natured, smart and hard working woman. Love the story. Wish the soulmates another 50 years.

Submitted by (Tommy) on

Happy Anniversary to my Grandparents! I am grateful everyday for the both of you in my life. You are not only a great example of what marriage should be, but you can not find better examples of more generous, truly selfless, and loving people. Love you both very much and see you soon!

Submitted by (Daniel Ornelas) on

Many congratulations to a wonderful, supportive, and loving couple. They always welcomed friends of the family with open arms. Happy 50th Anniversary and many more to come!

Submitted by Change A Heart Foundation (non-profit) (ToddCHF) on

There are several things that I think everyone can take from their story.


1. Look what happens when you fight for your marriage and persevere. I think too many people throw in the towel all too soon. Obviously there are some people who shouldn't of gotten married and of course people change, but because they persevered and stuck together, their children and grandchildren get to consistently experience some of life's biggest blessings. Their children and grandchildren are always doing things together. Holidays, birthdays, and celebrations are always spent together and filled with love. If they would of given up on each other, chances are, our family wouldn't be as tight knit as we are. As you can tell from reading the article, it was all worth it. 


2. Raising children! It's clear their children were the center of their marriage. My father and aunts are all very well respected in their communities and are all people of character. Their lives are a great testament to how present and loving their parents were. They did a great job at raising their children and their children have done the same. 


3. The ripple effect. Long after Frank, Carmen, my father and two aunts and even myself are gone, their legacy will continue on. Family time and love for one another is what Frank and Carmen built their entire lives on. That foundation will carry on. In 40-60 years, when my children become grandparents and are watching their loved ones play in a pool, sing, dance, and hang out, Carmen, Frank, and our entire family will also be there. The foundation they built will carry on for generations. I'm just thankful it was built on love for family and quality time. 


To all those reading...

Submitted by (Donna) on

Happy 50th Anniversary to the BEST parents EVER!!! I’m so grateful for the wonderful life our parents provided for us. I truly feel we won the parent “lottery”! When I was growing up, I thought it was the “norm” that all families sat down to eat dinner together, that all parents read to their kids at night and tucked them into bed and that all parents attended their children’s school and sporting events. As I got older, I realized that what was the norm in our family, sadly wasn’t the norm for most. My siblings and I have been truly blessed beyond words! Thank you Mom and Dad for always loving us and believing in us no matter what decisions we’ve made in our life’s and for sticking with us even when we’ve made some “not so great” choices in our life. You not only shown and taught me how to be a good person but how to be the best parent and spouse I could be. I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done for me and my family! I love you both soooo much and am proud to be your daughter! Cheers to beautiful life!

Submitted by (Michelle Perez-Picha) on

In just a few weeks we will be celebrating our parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary and it overwhelms me with happiness. Although I see my parents as opposites in many ways, their idea of family, reliability, and respect are the same. I look at the years of struggle, sacrifice and just plain hard work as a model of how families remain strong. I'm so proud of my parents and how they have remained a team for so long. I think their differences balance them out. Our childhood involved lots of road trips or just scenic drives and I just love when I call them up on a Sunday and they tell me they're in Monterey, or taking a drive to Big Sur. It's the small things like spontaneous trips that they love to do together that keeps them young and in love after 50 years. I beam as I write this because I adore my parents and the family they've created together. My siblings, my cousins, and all of our children have all been blessed by their love and devotion. As my sister mentioned, our parents have been our biggest supporters, cheerleaders and even coach in all of our endeavors, and now our children have all experienced the same loving support at all their games and school events. Life is truly a blessing having the BEST parents and now to celebrate their 50th anniversary is the icing on the cake! I love you, Mom & Dad!

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