GCNP — Fifty years ago, Robert and Janet McCann walked down the aisle on the way to a long life together.
Both worked at Grand Canyon National Park — Robert as justice of the peace and Janet as the head nurse at the hospital.
Robert and Janet McCann take a timeout from their reception at Thunderbird Lodge for a photo near the South Rim.
On Saturday, they returned to their special place to celebrate 50 years. After renewing vows at the Williams Community Methodist Church, they had a reception on the South Rim at Thunderbird Lodge.
“I started out driving a bus for Fred Harvey Co., and gradually became the assistant superintendent for the bus company,” Robert McCann said. “I also on the side, was a constable at one time and then I became justice of the peace of the Grand Canyon precinct.”
McCann said both he and Janet came to Grand Canyon in the late 1940s and stayed until 1960, about 12 years in all. They now live in Mayer.
“We left in 1960 and I came down to Phoenix and went to work there,” he said.
McCann, 79, got the idea to come up to the Canyon for lunch on their 50th anniversary after visiting about a month earlier.
“We ran into a bunch of people who used to live at the Canyon,” he said. “We had some nice conversation.”
Janet, who turned 75 on Monday, was the head nurse at Grand Canyon Hospital when Dr. Schnerr was the doctor.
“She was the head honcho in the nursing department,” McCann said of his wife.
While living at Grand Canyon, McCann said they used to go out to Rowe Well for recreation.
“We had some pretty good times at the Canyon,” he said.
As justice of the peace, McCann remembers the number of accidents, something that still occurs today.
“When I was JP (justice of the peace), we had a number of people falling into the Canyon,” he said. “You then had all of the legal proceedings and so on.”
McCann knew the famous Mary Jane Colter, the renowned architect who designed many of the structures around the Canyon. She retired the year he arrived.
The couple lived at the Grand Canyon in 1956 during the notable jet airliner crash that killed 128 people. Also that year, GCNP surpassed the 1 million visitor mark for the first time.
Robert’s father was also a Fred Harvey man and the family lived all over.
“My dad worked for the Fred Harvey Co., just about all his life,” he said. “I had a lot of connections with the Harveys. We lived all over — Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma. They moved him around a lot. We did a lot of traveling.”
The couple has lived in Mayer for 17 years. Robert worked for the City of Phoenix for 20 years as a city court bailiff before retiring.
The McCanns are not the only couple with a connection to Grand Canyon renewing vows. William and Sue Jenkins of Scottsdale met at Grand Canyon in 1948 and will be celebrating their 50th anniversary on Oct. 21.
William worked at the Canyon as a bellman while Sue served coffee and sandwiches at the Bright Angel Coffee Shop as a Harvey girl.
Judy Kopp, special events coordinator, said the Jenkins couple will renew vows in the Bright Angel Lodge’s history room in front of the fireplace.
After the ceremony, the couple will ride to Williams on the train.
The Jenkins couple could not be reached for this story.