The story behind a 1973 photo of a young couple gathering autumn leaves. Spoiler alert: they’re still going strong – Toronto Star

Bob Kalisz and the former Beth Lamb now have three children and four grandchildren.

Bob and Beth Kalisz, photographed by the Star nearly 50 years ago, are still a couple

By Jessica Dee HumphreysSpecial to the Star

Sun., Oct. 24, 20212 min. read

On a beautiful autumn Sunday in 1973, Star photographer Keith Beaty captured Beth Lamb and Robert Kalisz gathering leaves in Toronto’s Morningside Park. Today, almost 50 years later, Bob and Beth Kalisz are still together. “Happily married,” says Bob, “two best friends forever.”

Looking back at this photo, Bob describes himself and Beth as “university students, both 21 years young and madly in love.”

That love has seen this couple through 47 years of marriage, three children, and four grandchildren. “Less than a year after this photo was taken, on July 12, 1974, we were married,” Bob says, “ignoring the advice of the older generation, who thought we were too young.

“And yes,” he adds, “we’re beginning to realize who the older generation is now.”

Soon after their wedding, Beth began her career as a teacher, while her husband continued his studies and went on to become a principal. “We both shared wonderful and rewarding careers in education for more than 30 years,” he says, “and even made a special connection with school communities in West Africa that continues to this day.”

When he was principal of the Prince of Peace Catholic School in the early 2000s, Bob started Education Project Togo, partnering with developing communities in the West African nation. The charity supported the building of a school and a community water cistern, as well as provided critical health care and educational support for children.

Retired now and living near the Toronto Harbourfront, Bob says that at 69 he and his wife “love getting on our bikes and taking a water taxi across the harbour for a relaxing day cycling or kayaking on Toronto Island.”

And they still love to travel. “Two of our children and their families live within walking distance of our home, while the others are living and working in Rome,” Bob says. “As you can imagine, that’s now one of our favourite destinations, along with family trips to Barbados.”

For Bob and Beth, “memories of the past half-century together as a couple and family are our most precious treasure,” he says, “and we wouldn’t trade them for anything.

“The little ones keep us young,” he adds. “We’re saving getting older for some later date.”