Orange couple celebrates 70th wedding anniversary

Nina and Anthony Bonacci have been happily married for 70 years and their recipe for success seems simple: “You have to talk out everything,” said Anthony Bonacci, 94.

Nina Gallo Bonacci said, “You have to want it to work out and we did want it.”

The couple have had disagreements of course, but, Anthony Bonacci said, “We end up agreeing after a while. You compromise.” The couple met when Nina Bonacci, now 88, was 13-years-old and Anthony was 19, when his family rented an apartment in a house in Bridgeport owned by her family. They went out on one date before Anthony was sent overseas to serve in World War II, and exchanged letters while he was in the U.S. Army.

“I loved his personality. He had the same personality as his mother — jolly. She always laughed,” Nina Bonacci said. “Of course, he was handsome.”

Anthony Bonacci said that aside from being beautiful, his future wife was, “A pleasant girl, and a good girl. She was quiet.”

While Nina Bonacci waited for Anthony in Bridgeport, he fought in the Battle of Bulge and earned a Purple Heart for his service after being hit by shrapnel. They resumed dating when he returned after about two yearsand were married Sept. 20, 1947, when she was 18. The couple raised their four children in Fairfield and moved to Orange about 30 years ago as empty nesters. They now have 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Nina Bonacci said they had great times on family vacations with the kids, including driving to California back in the days before children watched movies in the car on long trips.

They are the parents of Anna Maria Craun of Pennsylvania, a registered nurse; Judy Drenzek of Orange, principal of Edith E. Mackrille Elementary School in West Haven; Anthony Bonacci of Newtown, a construction executive, and Nina Walsh of Roxbury, an acupuncturist.

“I tell them, ‘I know you’ve accomplished a lot, but I’m most proud that you’re decent people,” Nina Bonacci said. “I tried to instill good character in them.”