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Basil “Boomer” and Doerthe Needham of Carolina Shores celebrated 60 years of love and devotion at a family reunion Oct. 7-8 at several beachfront cottages in Sunset Beach. They met in 1942 in their high school math class in Bayside, N.Y., while competing for the best test grades in the class.
Boomer joined the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1946, graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1950 and sailed as a deck officer with Grace Line for seven years, attaining the rank of lieutenant. He remained active in the U.S. Naval Reserve until 1957.
Doerthe completed her education in 1950, graduating from Goucher College in Baltimore, Md., with a B.A. degree in early childhood education. She was the head teacher at a Douglaston, N.Y., nursery school from 1957-1971 and currently enjoys participating in the Carolina Shores Garden Club.
They were married in 1951 while Boomer remained active in the Merchant Marine, shipping out to the Caribbean, South America and the West Coast. He retired in 1957 and was then employed by the U.S. Department of Labor, initially as a maritime safety engineer and subsequently as regional administrator for the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).
The Needhams moved from Reston, Va., to Carolina Shores 1989. They have four children, Peter, twins Basil and Dirk, and Priscilla Needham Doyle; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. They love to travel and golf, and attribute the success of their 60 years together by remaining deeply devoted to caring and sharing.