In Sickness and Health: Petries Care For Others

February 11, 2020

When Eleanor McNamara attended a party over the hill, she spotted a guy leaning against a car.

 

He looked a little sad, she recollected. “I went over and asked what’s the matter?’’

 

With suaveness not usually found in a high school student, David Petrie replied, “You’re with him,’’ referring to his friend who had brought Eleanor.

 

“That was pretty smooth,’’ she said. “After that he was on my mind.’’

 

Eleanor, who lived in Waterville, and David, from Oriskany Falls, relied on the telephone to initially get to know each other. He was a senior at Oriskany Falls High School and she a sophomore in Waterville, when the rivalry of the two schools held fierce.

 

But so did their interest in each other, shrugging off their friends’ jokes about dating someone from ‘the other side of the hill.’’ Last summer they celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary with their three children and families.

 

Part of their celebration included renewing their vows at St. Bernard’s Church, where they were married in 1979.

 

This year also marks a milestone for the Waterville couple. David retired a couple of months ago from his medical practice in Waterville. Eleanor, the school nurse at Memorial Park School for the last 20 years, will retire in June.

 

Given their commitment to keeping the local communities in good health, this year’s Valentine’s Day Couple of the Year chosen by the Times is the Petries. Their retirements end a combined almost 90 years of taking care of people.

 

“It’s time,’’ she said. “Years and years of working nights, on call, missing things with family. With the two grandkids we want to spend more time with family.’’

 

Pursuing two careers in medicine took them…

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