CHARLES AND ROSE ANN FINKEL first met in Houston, Texas, in 1968. Rose Ann was a dental hygienist and Charles was a wine purveyor. They were set up through a friend of Rose Ann’s who thought the petite, spunky Houston gal would hit it off with her friend “Charlie,” a bright, driven guy from Oklahoma. Their first date was the opening of a wine cellar, and although she jokes that she was hesitant to go out with someone she thought was a Manischewitz salesman, from the minute Rose Ann opened the door to him picking her up for their first date, she felt a spark.
One month later they were engaged—the ring hidden inside a flaming baked Alaska after dinner at one of their favorite restaurants. Charles keeps a photograph from the evening, taken with his miniature Minox camera, tucked in his wallet.
Six months later they were married at the Shamrock Hilton Hotel, famous for being the site of James Dean’s final film, Giant. Now, after 49 years, two children, and many successful business ventures (including Seattle favorite Pike Brewing), the Finkels know a little bit about how to hang on to the one you love. Their advice for newlyweds is as follows: “Never ask ‘Is this a 50/50 situation?’ Give it your all while knowing you’re going to get an equal amount back,” says Rose Ann. Charles adds, “We’re not competing with each other, we’re complementing each other.”