Just Another Guy with Opinions

We’re Not Married??

Posted by shadmia on September 29, 2009

Frank and Betty Skrout

The date was Oct., 6, 1960. Frank and Betty stood before the late Rev. James Feehley at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Wilmore, Pa. with Betty’s 5-year-old daughter and two witnesses. They declared their love for each other and with the blessing of the Rev. became Mr. and Mrs. Frank Skrout. They were married….or were they?

“Not according to us, not according to our records,” Patty Sharbaugh, the elected Cambria County official in charge of the records, said. “They’re not married.”

No, they were not married, according to the state of Pennsylvania. The late Rev. who performed the marriage ceremony never sent in the required “return of marriage” document to the office of the Cambria County Register of Wills/Clerk of Orphans Court, as required by law. The certified marriage license does not exist. There is no record of Frank and Betty ever being married 49 years ago.

“All these years we’ve been living in sin,” the good-natured Frank Skrout said jokingly in an interview on the front porch of the their longtime Wilmore. “I might as well play the field. What the heck.”

The Skrouts lived their entire life in Wilmore, a tiny borough in Cambria County, about 55 miles east of Pittsburgh. Frank went to work for Bethlehem Steel and Betty did sewing at factories in Johnstown, Windber and Portage. They have one son, a grandson, five grandchildren and five great- grandchildren.

They discovered they weren’t married when Betty tried to apply for a pension due to her through the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. She needed her marriage certificate to show her married name. When she applied at the county court, no record of her marriage could be found. According to the county records, Frank and Betty Skrout were never married.

Tony DeGol, secretary for communications of the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese, said the marriage certificate should be available.

“Those records are the property of the parish and they can be found,” he said.

Patty Sharbaugh said if the Skrouts can locate the information from the church, she will record it, back-dating the marriage to Oct. 6, 1960.

“We’ve had a lot of fun with this,” Betty said. “But it’s like the priest told us: We were married. The records are there – somewhere.”

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