Judy and Leonard
Judy and Leonard

Couple celebrates 50 years, proving 1960s computer-based dating service successful.

Love manifests itself in a number of ways. It can bloom from years of friendship, become obvious after months of dating or, for some, it can begin with the first glance, first date or, in the case of Judy and Leonard Poger, the first phone call.

Judy
Judy

“The night the Leonard called introducing himself, I was in the hallway on the phone for an hour and a half. The chemistry was great right off the bat,” Judy says.

Judy and Leonard met as a result of Project TACT, the first computer dating service, developed in the 1960s and based on a pen pal matchmaking machine at the 1964 World’s Fair.

The creators wanted something that not only matched individuals based on personality like pen pals, but also geographically to give them their best shot at finding a relationship that would last. TACT, or Technical Automated Computer Testing, was a 100-question survey that cost $5 per person, a significant commitment at the time.

“Just after I turned 30, I saw it in a local newspaper and immediately sent in to get a questionnaire,” Leonard says. “I received a list of five young ladies, some Jewish, some not. Judy’s name was at the bottom, but I called her first. She lived on the same street as Temple Israel, so I figured she must be Jewish.”

Although it was a rare way to meet back then, after their first phone call and their first date in February of 1967, the two knew their relationship was bound to stand the test of time.

Five months after meeting, the couple got engaged. This year marks the Pogers’ 50th wedding anniversary. The two were married on April 4, 1968, at Congregation Israel in Flint. Fifty years later, they are still going strong. They credit much of it to their shared Jewish beliefs.

“The glue that’s held us together is shared values,” Judy says. “That has always been really important to me. When I met Leonard, it was quite obvious our values were the same and then on top of that we have shared interests.”

Both agree that their family and its legacy of carrying on these principles is one of the most memorable parts of their marriage. The Pogers have three children and seven grandchildren.

Leonard
Leonard

“It’s a great sense of satisfaction seeing how well our children and grandchildren are doing. They are productive and responsible people and bring us a lot of joy,” Judy says.

Leonard adds, “Judy and I have been firm to raise our children Jewish. We are overjoyed with the traditions being carried through two more generations.”

Their son Herschel believes these values will continue to be passed down for many years to come.

“I think what makes my parents’ marriage strong is their unending commitment to the values of respect, unconditional love and morality,” he says. “This has been a powerful legacy that will carry on with their heirs for generations.”

Judy and Leonard
Judy and Leonard

The two attend Adat Shalom Synagogue and still live in the home they bought together in Westland 50 years ago.

“When we were talking about getting married and our future, Leonard was 31 and I was 29,” Judy says. “We were speculating how long a life we would have together, and we predicted 40 years. Reaching 40 was memorable, but here we are at 50!”

Karleigh Stone Special to the Jewish News