Another ‘special occasion’: Leeds couple’s family marks their 65th anniversary

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  • Ginny and Bill Seney of Leeds, accompanied by their daughter and neighbor Maryanne Rogers, left, wave to well-wishers celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary in a drive-by parade across from their home on Audubon Road on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Virginia and William (Ginny and Bill) Seney of Leeds wave to well-wishers celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary in a drive-by parade across from their home on Audubon Road on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Virginia and William (Ginny and Bill) Seney of Leeds, accompanied by their daughter and neighbor Maryanne Rogers, left, wave to well-wishers celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary in a drive-by parade across from their home on Audubon Road on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Debbie Mahar of Whately and her grandson Jamison Yvon, who turns 2 next week and is also of Whately, look over a photo display of the 27 descendents of Mahar's parents, William and Virginia Seney, during a celebration of their 65th wedding anniversary in Leeds on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. Mahar is the Seney's oldest child and Jamison is their youngest great-grandchild. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Virginia and William (Ginny and Bill) Seney wave to a stream of cars celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary in a drive-by parade across the street from their Leeds home on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Maryanne Rogers of Leeds places a photo of her parents, Ginny and Bill Seney, with a basket of other cards and gifts brought to their 65th wedding anniversary drive-by parade across from their home in Leeds on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Virginia and William (Ginny and Bill) Seney, seated, of Leeds have their photo taken with their six children, who dropped their masks and held their breath for 10 seconds, during a celebration of their 65th wedding anniversary on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Virginia and William (Ginny and Bill) Seney have their photo taken with their six children during a celebration of their 65th wedding anniversary across from their home in Leeds on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. From left are Maryanne Rogers of Leeds, Tim Seney of Northampton, Bill Seney of Holyoke, Debbie Mahar of Whately, Jim Seney of Southampton and Laurie Pariseault of Holyoke. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • A photo of Virginia and William (Ginny and Bill) Seney of Leeds, taken months before their wedding on Sept. 17, 1955, is featured on a greeting for their 65th wedding anniversary celebration on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Virginia and William (Ginny and Bill) Seney have their photo taken with their six children during a celebration of their 65th wedding anniversary across from their home in Leeds on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. From left are Maryanne Rogers of Leeds, Tim Seney of Northampton, Bill Seney of Holyoke, Debbie Mahar of Whately, Jim Seney of Southampton and Laurie Pariseault of Holyoke. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 9/20/2020 8:09:22 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Having grown up as neighbors on the same street in Leeds, Ginny Seney remembers that she was just 13 years old when her now-husband, Bill Seney, kissed her underneath a pine tree in front of her house before hopping on his bike to ride home down the street.

Although Ginny didn’t know at the time that her and Bill’s relationship would blossom into something much greater than just a kiss in the decades to come, she knew that he was one to keep around.

“I thought it was a special occasion,” said Ginny Seney, now 85, as she and Bill, now 87, sat on Saturday afternoon at the foot of Audubon Road in Leeds — the same street where the two grew up, and the street where they live now. 

The two were waiting on a grassy median right across the street from their home for a caravan of family and friends — at least 20 cars in total — to come by while loudly honking their horns to celebrate Ginny and Bill’s 65th wedding anniversary. The two were married on Sept. 17, 1955 at St. Catherine of Alexandra Church in Leeds and had six children, leading to 15 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. 

According to Jim Seney, one of their sons, both Bill’s family — the Seneys — and Ginny’s family — the Heons — moved to the Leeds area around the 1880s. The families, who are both French-Canadian, have pretty much lived in the area ever since, Jim said.

The original Seney in the area, Pete Seney Sr., was Bill’s grandfather. He eventually bought a farm in the area of Audubon Road where he grew his own vegetables and sold them at a market on Main Street in Leeds, according to Jim. Bill grew up at 5 Audubon Road with Ginny Heon living down the street at 24 Audubon Road. 

“This is an old Leeds family,” Jim Seney said.

Jim said his father ended up serving for four years in the U.S. Navy during the early 1950s, and when he came back, married Ginny. They settled down at 8 Audubon Road in 1962, where their children were raised. Bill became a barber on Mulberry Street in Leeds, and eventually, both Ginny and Bill retired after working for the U.S. Post Office, Jim said.

All of Bill and Ginny’s children still live in the area. Their son Tim Seney’s wife, Ginetta Candelario, a professor of sociology at Smith College, said the family visits their house regularly, and that the family is “incredibly close-knit.”

“Not only were they born and raised here, but they married here, they worked here,” Candelario said of Bill and Ginny.

On Saturday, a loud caravan of loving family and friends drove past Ginny and Bill as they sat outside the U.S. Post Office, right across the street from their home. Some cars had balloons, and one blue Honda minivan had “Bill & Ginny” written across its doors. Once the caravan made its way past the celebrating couple, cars came back to hand off cards as well as to talk with the couple and take pictures.

“Those kids of ours are wonderful,” Ginny said about the celebration. “We’re very blessed.”

“We’re very lucky,” Bill said. “This isn’t the first time they’ve done things like this.”

Son Tim Seney said the family would have normally put together a party with food to celebrate the anniversary, but given the COVID-19 pandemic, they decided on a much more socially distant way to celebrate. “This is the only way we could have done this reasonably,” he said.

Alisha Seney, one of Bill and Ginny’s granddaughters, said that during non-COVID times, “the family is always planning something all together.” For this anniversary, she said, she and her aunt set up a candlelight dinner for Bill and Ginny, as the family bought them takeout from The Whately Inn to enjoy.

“It’s not every day that someone celebrates their 65th,” Alisha said. “So it’s really nice to focus on love and something that’s pure.”

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com. 


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