Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!

Today marks the 52nd anniversary of our parents, Chuck and Sally. We will always be grateful for what they’ve given us… not the material things, but the intangibles. Through a lifetime of outdoor experiences, Dad instilled in us a sense of adventure, an appreciation of nature, and a love of animals. He also showed us what hard work really means. Mom gave us a softer example. She comforted us always; whether it was a bad dream, sickness, injury, or personal hardships as we got older, Mom has always been there for us. She taught us compassion, patience, and most importantly, to trust in God.

I thought you might enjoy an excerpt from the book Dad and I wrote that tells the story of Mom and Dad meeting each other for the first time. Enjoy this story from Our Sarah: Made in Alaska.

One day in a zoology lab class, I was paired with a girl named Sally Sheeran. Our assignment that day was to prick each other’s fingers and take a blood sample. At first, she refused to participate. Ever the gallant and considerate one, I responded by calling her a pansy. I liked her but wanted to date another girl in our class, Linda Mitchell. However, when I asked Linda out, she wanted to go with my roommate instead. Rather than going with me, Linda offered to fix me up for a date with her best friend. Her best friend turned out to be Sally Sheeran. I’m not sure I made a good impression on her – I paid for the movie with a sock full of coins and when I tried to put my arm around her my shoulder popped out of joint – but we continued to date and she took me home to meet the family.

Mom and Dad on the Gold Trail 2013

If Sally was impressed, Clem, her father, was not and neither was the rest of the family. Her sisters deny it now but when they met me they said, “Sally usually brings all these nice, good looking guys around. And then there’s you.” I was an athlete and an adventurer. Not exactly the man they expected for their quiet, demur Sally.

After two years at Columbia Basin, I transferred to Eastern Washington University. Located twenty miles south of Spokane, the school was established in 1882, with a grant from Benjamin Pierce Cheney, a businessman and founder of the company that eventually became American Express. While I continued work toward a bachelor’s degree, Sally completed her education at Columbia Basin and took a job as a dental assistant in Spokane. We exchanged an occasional letter but slowly drifted apart.

That was a lean time for me. I had enough money to pay tuition, but none for room or board. I slept in various rooms at the dormitory – first with this friend, then with that one, sometimes sleeping on the floor. From time to time, friends brought me food. Occasionally, at meal time I went to the cafeteria, took a used plate from a friend, and made a trip through the serving line to get “seconds.”

As the year wore on, my shoulder continued to deteriorate and often popped out of place from simply sneezing. Once I nearly drowned when it popped out while I was swimming. Finally, I gave in and rode to Spokane to see a doctor. While I was in town I saw Sally through a chance meeting near the office where she worked. We struck up a conversation and subsequently rekindled our relationship. A few months later, I scraped together enough money to pay for shoulder surgery. Sally was the only person who visited me while I recovered. As my shoulder healed, our relationship grew and friendship turned to romance.

Heaths in Denali Park

In the summer of 1961, Sally and I were married at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Sandpoint, Idaho. The Reverend John Delberg officiated. Our parents attended the ceremony, along with Sally’s sisters and brothers. After a short honeymoon trip, we settled in an apartment and I returned to my job – grueling work in a pole yard where we turned trees from the nearby forests into telephone poles. A few weeks later, I learned that Idaho regulations allowed me to teach even though I hadn’t completed my bachelor’s degree. I applied to the school board for a position and was accepted for a job teaching ninth grade at Southside Elementary School in Hope. It didn’t pay much more than the job at the pole yard but it was a teaching position and the hours gave me more time to hunt and fish. By then hunting and fishing were as much a part of my life as eating and sleeping. In between teaching and hunting I supplemented our income by waiting tables at the Elks Club.

Later that year, our son Chuck Jr. was born. In what had become my typical fashion, I paid the hospital bill with a jar full of quarters. The following year, our daughter Heather was born and I moved up to teach ninth grade science at Sandpoint Junior High. I also coached football, basketball, and track. That summer I completed the requirements for my bachelor’s degree and returned to East Washington for graduation. But with a growing family, money was tight and I couldn’t afford the fifteen-dollar graduation robe. Instead of attending and receiving my degree with my classmates, I watched the ceremony through a hole in the fence.

The following February, Sarah was born. On the way to the hospital that night, we passed the local car dealership, Sandpoint Motors. The building was on fire and I stopped to watch the owner drive the cars from the building. Sally was already in labor and as you might imagine, she wasn’t much interested in watching the fire. We made it to the hospital on time and Sarah was delivered by Dr. Helen Peterson, Sandpoint’s first female doctor. I think about that sometimes – the town’s first female doctor delivering Alaska’s first female governor.
Sarah Palin, Chuck and Sally Heath, and Billy Graham

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Chuck Heath Jr and Sr at Anchorage B and N book signing 12 8 2012

To purchase a signed copy of Our Sarah, mail a $25 check (made out to Sally or Chuck Heath) to:

Chuck and Sally Heath 425 North Klouda Circle Wasilla, Alaska 99654



  • isabel matos

    Happy Anniversary, and thank you for being such a special couple and stable force amidst the fame and unique circumstances of the Palin/Heath families. You are an inspiration, and just sweet, tough and wonderful! May you have many years of life, health and happiness ahead. You are Our First Family, so congratulations on having built the solid foundation millions will benefit from. (Those hands that rocked the cradle… will have been yours..! 😉 Thanks again. Have a great day.

  • indemind

    Congratulation Chuck and Sally Heath…. Happy Anniversary, praying that you have Many Many More

  • Karen Wickstrom

    Happy Anniversary and God bless you both!

  • Mike Wyatt

    There is nothing better than family. Your so lucky to have one.

  • Lynda

    Thank you Chuck for the great post… You Mom and Dad are wonderful people … My God bless them with His Love and Grace…

  • John B. Hefmier

    Beautiful tribute!! Thanks for sharing!! Happy Anniversary, Chuck and Sally!!

  • Pingback: Gov. Palin: Happy 52nd Anniversary, Mom & Dad! | Palin4America()

  • Chuck and Sally Heath, Happy 52nd Wedding Anniversary and Many More!

  • Patti Jury

    Happy Anniversary! My parents will share their 58th next week! Such a rare thing these days it seems! Congrats!

  • Fung Law

    Yes Happy Anniversary to you both and many more to come with good health and happiness.

  • indycar02

    It’s my 52nd anniverasary today as well, Bob & Sue Schrameyer of Goshen, Indiana.

    • chuckjr

      Happy Anniversary Bob and Sue!

      • indycar02

        thanks dittos

    • Patrick_Skacel

      Happy Anniversary!

  • Pingback: Happy Anniversary, Grandma and Grandpa!()

  • Patrick_Skacel

    Happy Anniversary and congrats to your Mom and Dad, Chuck! That’s awesome. I hope they enjoy many, many more together. My wife and I are celebrating our anniversary today too – 18 years for us – so we have a ways to go to match your parents, but it’s nice to be in such good company!

    I love hearing about marriages that last the way your parents’ has. My parents will hit their 60th later this week and it’s so great to see that these days.

  • Sue Lynn

    Your all part of our family you know…Happy Anniversary Mr. and Mrs. Heath!

  • Nancy Labonete

    I enjoyed this part of Our Sarah the first time I read it. Now reading it the second time around, I am still awestruck with the hardscrabble life that Sally and, especially Chuck Sr., had in their younger years, yet that did not break their spirit and character but only strengthened their positive outlook in life. You are such a wonderful couple and America is four times better that you have brought into this world four fiercely independent and patriotic son and daughters. Thank you so much for that and Happy Anniversary, Mr and Mrs. Heath!

  • medfed1

    Brings me back to my Golden years in the 50’s and makes me smile. Happy Anniversary chuck and Sally and thanks for raising a wonderful family we can all admire and enjoy.

  • blueniner

    Happy Anniversary Chuck and Sally. I love that story, Chuck and Sally came up the hard way and worked hard to raise a beautiful family, and gave us Sarah Palin.

  • Northstar96sc

    Happy Anniversary from Ninety Six, SC. Thank you for raising Patriots and for your love and dedication to family.

  • MaMcGriz

    This is a wonderful tribute with many excellent and heartwarming comments.

    Congratulations and best wishes on your special day and always, Big Chuck and Sally.

    And thank you….for everything. You give more than we’ll ever know.

    We love you sooooo much.

  • PaMom4Palin

    I’m a little late but I hope they had a wonderful day!! ….and many more to come!!

  • chzn2bfree

    Blessed be the L-rd G-d who gives to us the seasons of our lives under His canopy where relationships are the most important thing in all of Life. May His grace be upon Dad & Mom Heath that the joy of their youth be rejuvenated in this 52nd year as they share smiles and memories reflecting upon their family’s generations even to the great grandchildren that, perhaps, sparks a glimmer of more adventures to be enjoyed. Rejoicing with you!

  • Palin Army

    America is in desperate of a populist that is of the common man and that is your sister . Please tell her to run for President . Populism will live if Sarah Palin runs for President in 2016 .


  • CoolChange80

    Palin, get your state and your country back from the rotten vermin that
    have stole it from you. Run for President in 2016 . Don’t let the
    Media, the Democrats, Obama, the Corrupt Bastards, Steve Schmidt, Joe
    McGinniss, and the others defeat you. Rise
    up, Sarah Palin . Get back in the fight and be a candidate . Disregard
    the lies put forward by PPP and the other liars. Get back and run for
    President in 2016 . Take your name back . Palin2016

  • CoolChange80

    Sarah Palin , Start talking Palin for President in 2016 , that will sell lots of your books and boost contributions to SarahPac . Every single one of your supporters and fans wants you to run for President in 2016 . We want to fight for you. Please rise up and run for President . Start talking Palin2016 . The folks at Conservatives 4 Palin and Organizing 4 Palin are still alive and well. Give us some hope. Palin for President 2016