Finding Love After 60: Dana and Monty Youngborg

Patty Fuller
By Patty Fuller September 15, 2016 12:15


Older adults are marrying in record numbers. What’s it like to find new love later in life? Four couples told their stories to FAN in the Autumn 2016 issue.  Read their stories here: Susan Schlindwein and Bob Hornauer, Nancy Stowell-Freiberg and Duane Freiberg, Jeanne Rittenhouse and Bob Myers



Monty and Dana

Monty and Dana

Monty and Dana Youngborg are happily active in retirement, together showing all the signs of a love that has thrived for decades.

They are active in local service and social groups, travel extensively, work together on home projects and spend time with their adult kids and grandchildren.

But Monty and Dana are relative newlyweds. They met in the fall of 2011 and tied the knot two years ago, when he was 75 and she was 71. Both had been widowed after long, happy marriages.

Dana says finding love later in life has been “an enlightening, powerful experience for both of us.”

“We talk about the past, but we can’t live in the past,” she says. “We have to live in the present, especially at our age.”

As Monty puts it, “We both had a lot of history, but we want to look forward.”

Raised on a Central Valley dairy, Monty earned a degree in electrical engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. That’s where he met Pat Halladay, whom he married in 1964. After earning two master’s degrees, Monty began a long career with General Electric, and he and Pat traveled the world as he worked on overseas projects.

They raised a son and daughter, and after he retired in 1998, the couple moved from San Jose to Tuolumne County. After nearly 50 years of marriage, Pat died in 2011 after a two-year battle with cancer.

Dana was born in Portland and grew up in Oregon and the Bay Area. She married after graduating from high school, had two sons, and divorced in the late 1960s. After taking college classes, she was hired by an Oakland trucking company and worked her way to upper management in the transportation industry.

After her sons were grown, Dana met and in 1984 married the man with whom she hoped to spend the rest of her life. Rudy Avila worked for the California Department of Corrections. They lived in Sacramento, then moved to the north coast where Rudy worked for Pelican Bay State Prison. Dana took jobs with the Del Norte County courts and its recorder’s office. They later retired to Gold Beach, Oregon.

“He retired in 2001, I retired in March 2003, and he died of an aortic aneurysm a year later,” Dana says. “I was a widow at 60.”

She remained in Oregon three years, but at her sons’ urgings decided to return to California. With both sons and their families in Sonora, she settled in Twain Harte.

Fast forward to late 2011: Monty was living in the Sonora home he and Pat had retired to but wasn’t happy. “I didn’t like being alone,” he says. “Let’s face it, our society is a couples’ society.” Then a friend suggested “a nice lady” who might be available.

Dana Avila also felt alone, and after Monty called they met at a Sonora restaurant. Sharing a hamburger, they talked and enjoyed each other’s company.

Both describe that first date as “like at first sight.” More dates followed, and the loneliness faded.

“We had a lot of mutual interests,” Dana says, noting their Christian faith and shared love of history, travel and theater. They learned they had more mutual friends, too.

“We hit it off,” Monty recalls, and then grins. “I liked her personality – and that she was willing to split a hamburger with me.”

Over the next two years there were more dates, road trips and time spent getting to know each other. They also talked about the spouses they had lost and how important they were.

One day in early 2014, while Dana was at Monty’s house, he got down on one knee. “I thought he’d fallen,” she laughs. “But he looked up and said, ‘I want to give you this.’ ”

It was an engagement ring.

Several months later, joined by their children, grandchildren, relatives and friends, Monty and Dana married at the Sonora Hills clubhouse. Monty’s brother, who had been his best man back in 1964, reprised the role.

Dana sold her house, and since moving into Monty’s, the two have made it distinctly their own.

“We have also made an effort to keep old friends and make new ones together,” Monty adds.

More than two years after marrying, both still talk openly about Pat and Rudy, and express gratitude for the new love they have found.

“It’s kind of scary to start over in your 70s,” Dana admits. “But when you love each other and care about each other, it’s very important not to let life pass you by. You can love more than one person in a lifetime.”

Copyright © 2016 Friends and Neighbors Magazine

Patty Fuller
By Patty Fuller September 15, 2016 12:15
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