This couple met 43 years ago through a matchmaking segment on As It Happens
Bob Craigue told listeners he was looking for 'a proper woman who would enjoy a country life'
This story was first published on Sept. 18, 2018.
When Karen L. Craigue was 26, she packed up her whole life in Toronto and moved across the country to live on a farm with a man she'd only met once — all thanks to a short-lived matchmaking segment on CBC Radio's As It Happens.
Forty-three years later, Karen and Bob Craigue are still together, with two children and three grandchildren.
"Precursor of the computer dating, I guess," Karen, 68, told As It Happens host Carol Off. "But more face to face."
Indeed, decades before Tinder and OKCupid, As It Happens had a recurring segment called The Lonely Hearts Club — something of a romance classifieds section that aired on the radio.
In Aug. 14, 1975, the show aired a clip from Bob Craigue, a farmer in Dunster B.C., who was on the market for "a proper woman."
"I'm one of about 20 single men in the McBride, B.C., area that has small farms in the country. Most of us have obtained all our goals, except to find a proper woman who would enjoy a country life and lots of good old fashioned hard work," he said in the vintage radio clip.
"Any ladies between 22 and 30, with or without children, interested in living the good life in the mountains, should write to me, Bob Craigue, Dunster B.C., and I'll give all the extra replies to the other single men in the valley."
'I'm a strong believer in fate'
Karen heard about Bob's quest for matrimony from her friend's mother. At the time, Karen said she was desperate to get out of Toronto and try something new.
"I'm a strong believer in fate, so I thought, hmm, why not?" she said.
"I just thought this is an interesting way to get out of the city. All kinds of possibilities, you know?"
So she called up the CBC and got Bob's contact information.
"We talked on the phone a few times and wrote back and forth a few times," she said.
"At the end of October, I flew out to Edmonton, took the bus and he picked me up on Highway 16 at the Dunster turnoff. I spent 10 days there, and I thought, 'OK, this guy's alright.'"
'Boy, this is pretty nice here'
Bob lived on a small farm with a few animals in a valley next to a creek in an 440 square-foot A-frame house he built himself.
There was no running water — only an outhouse and a hand pump.
Karen was taken aback by the "stunning" scenery.
"I thought, 'Boy, this is pretty nice here,'" she said. "I mean, there was no question about if anyone would ever want to live there, that's for sure."
'Long story short ... we are still together'
In March 1976, she left her job at the Eaton photography studio, packed up her bags and moved to B.C. to be with Bob.
"I made up a story for my parents. I didn't want to freak them out," she said. "I think maybe I just told them I'd met him through friends. Well, I guess I sort of did."
A year later, in May 1977, they tied the knot.
As It Happens discovered Karen's story when she commented on a Facebook post about the show's 50th anniversary.
Nobody still working on the show had any recollection of The Lonely Hearts Club.
The couple — who have since retired to Perth, Ont., to be closer to their kids — now have four decades of marriage under their belt.
"A lot of photographers I worked with didn't think that I would last [in B.C.]," she said. "Made liars out of them."
Asked if she would do it all again today, she replied: "In hindsight, I learned so many skills and did so many cool things and had two wonderful kids and now three wonderful grandkids. Of course I would."
- Have you heard or read anything on As It Happens that has spurred you to action or somehow changed the course of your life? Hit us up on Twitter and Facebook, drop us a line at email@example.com or give us call at 416-205-5687.
Written by Sheena Goodyear. Produced by John McGill.