TRINITY, Fla. — After all these years, Otto Tatar certainly knows the phrase that pays.

“The first thing men learn what to say is, ‘Yes, dear’. That’s it,” the 97-year-old said with a sly smile.

His bride nodded.

“Our courtship was very short,” Louise, 92, said with a girlish giggle. “About seven months.”

Otto and Louise, who live at The Watermark at Trinity in Pasco County, had their first date on Valentine’s Day in 1946. They attended a company dance hosted by their employer – IBM – at The Nelson House in Poughkeepsie, NY.

“When I saw her all dressed up and said, ‘Wow, wow, wow, wow,” said Otto. “I said to myself, ‘This is the gal for me’. I knew what I wanted.”

Otto proposed to Louise on her birthday on April 9, 1946. The two were married that July and have been together ever since.

“There’s nothing like having a wonderful friend, and he’s been my best friend forever,” said Louise. “We’ve had a good life together.”

Louise and Otto Tatar
Bobby Lewis

Valentine’s Day is extra special to them. It marks their first date and the beginning of a 73-year love story that included two children. The couple always enjoys dinner together on Valentine’s Day to celebrate their first date.

“At the time I was getting married I thought, ‘What am I getting into?’,” said Otto who served in the U.S. Air Force Corp during WWII. He paused for a moment then added, “I was glad I got into it.”

The Tatars had a double wedding with Louise’s sister. Louise and Otto honeymooned in Canada and remember the unusually chilly weather there in July. They lived in New York their entire lives before moving to Trinity in August 2017.

Through the years, they have relied on faith, love, and good communication to keep their marriage strong.

“There is somebody up there watching over us,” said Otto. “Definitely.”

The couple held hands and flipped through a weathered wedding album with the back cover detached. The black-and-white photos show two young lovers in pristine clothing and excited grins.

“She’s always been a beautiful lady,” said Otto.

Both agree that “winning” fights should never be part of a marriage. Mutual respect has proven to be a better practice for them. It’s something the embrace again-and-again each Valentine’s Day.  

Each February 14 offers them another chance to look back at all their happy years.

“You know we’re old now,” joked Louise. "He's been a wonderful, wonderful husband."

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