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Kent couple returns to Space Needle to celebrate 50th anniversary of engagement

Doug and Carol Shultes, of Kent, returned Sunday to the Space Needle to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their engagement in the revolving restaurant atop the Needle. - COURTESY PHOTO
Doug and Carol Shultes, of Kent, returned Sunday to the Space Needle to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their engagement in the revolving restaurant atop the Needle.
— image credit: COURTESY PHOTO

Few couples can top the experience Doug and Carol Shultes had Sunday at the Space Needle.

The Kent couple returned to the Needle's revolving restaurant to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their engagement during the 50th anniversary of the World's Fair.

Doug Shultes and the then Carol Selman went to dinner atop the Space Needle on Oct. 14 during the 1962 World's Fair to celebrate the 20th birthday of Shultes.

But the evening turned out to be way more than a birthday party when Shultes asked Carol to marry him. He was 20. She was 18.

"She thought I was breaking up with her," Shultes said.

Shultes decided to pull off another big surprise this year at the Space Needle on his 70th birthday after he secretly restored his wife's engagement and wedding rings from 50 years ago. The rings had sat in a jewelry box after paramedics removed them from her ring finger in 1980 because of a circulation problem.

"She was so excited she started crying when I handed her the ring just like she did the first time," Shultes said.

The proud husband even revealed the ring at the same time, 5 o'clock, as he did in 1962.

"It's my rings," Carol Shultes said when she saw what her husband held in his hand. "It was awesome. I did accuse him of being sneaky. And our son was in on it, too."

Doug Shultes wanted it to be a surprise again and clued in their one child to help with the unexpected occasion. Employees and customers in the restaurant congratulated the couple when they found out about the golden anniversary of engagement.

Many couples have become engaged over the years at the Space Needle. But Doug Shultes said they were told they are one of only three couples who were engaged in 1962 at the Needle to return to the restaurant 50 years later.

Shultes pointed out one big change since 1962. Dinner prices have skyrocketed.

"It was $15 for two back then," Doug Shultes said. "It was $200 on Sunday."

The couple married on Aug. 3, 1963. That means they have another 50th celebration coming up next year.

They first met when Carol was dating Steve Goodspeed, an uncle of Shultes. The uncle is the same age as him.

"We were all at a Halloween party and without realizing they were dating, I told Steve that she was the girl I was going to marry," Shultes said.

They later started dating after Shultes worked as a photographer at a wedding where Carol was an attendant.

"That night I asked her out, and the rest is family history," Shultes said.

The couple has had plenty to celebrate lately. Carol Shultes attended her Kent-Meridian High School 50th reunion last month. Doug Shultes had his Ballard High 50th reunion last year.

But Sunday's celebration turned out to be tough to top with the return to the Space Needle for a birthday party and engagement anniversary.

"He told me afterward 'My birthday is complete,'" Carol Shultes said.

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