NEWPORT BEACH — The story of Salvador and Margarita Avila began long before they started the Avila's El Ranchito restaurant chain in Southern California.
The two met in the small colonial town of Guanajuato, Mexico, in the 1940s. She was 21 and he was 22. By the standards of the time, it was considered late for someone to marry in their early 20s.
At the end of April, the couple celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary, but 87-year-old Salvador was hospitalized for more than a week in the days leading up to the milestone. Family members worried that he wouldn't be able to celebrate the occasion April 26.
Salvador told the priest at his hospital bed to give him his last rites, that if he was to die, he just wanted to be beside his wife, daughter Maria Elena Avila said.
Salvador recovered, and was able to come home days before the anniversary. He and his 86-year-old wife celebrated it quietly, holding hands and eating dinner together.