Back Matrimonial milestones and golden anniversaries honored at Celebration of Marriage Event
June 27th, 2012
Love letters. They're the quintessential symbol of a bond between two people—sketched out on paper, documented in e-mail, and passed around on special occasions. Since the beginning of time, they've carried promises, offered hope, and sparked devotion.
The memories surrounding them were highlighted at the recent "Celebration of Marriage" event last Thursday evening in Hudson Hall. Hosted by the SeniorLink Ministry, the event featured dinner, acknowledgement of milestones in marriage, and congratulations plus a video presentation for those couples celebrating 50 years of matrimony.
In addition, singers, songwriters, and award-winning Christian artists Dick and Mel Tunney led the crowd in worship. Then Bonnie Keen and Steve Pippin rounded out the night with a duo musical-theatrical performance called "Discovering Love Letters."
Throughout the evening, the special guests of honor were those relishing in their Golden Anniversary this year. They were recognized for their faithfulness to marriage for 50 years and making Christ the center. They are:
David & Pam Ervin
Anniversary Date: September 9
Back in the day, David owned a 1956 Chevy with fins, shiny chrome, and a swirl painted on each side. It was beautiful—his pride and joy—until the day someone in the parked car next to him slammed their door into it. David jumped out, ready to attack, and that's when he met the most beautiful girl he's ever seen—Pam Hall.
It was love at first sight—right there in the parking lot of McGowan’s grocery in Nashville in October 1960. Two years later, they eloped in Georgia. Pam was a junior in high school and David was 20. Some people said, “That marriage will never last.” But their young love was true and strong, and it's only grown stronger and sweeter over time.
Don & Mary Jo Ford
Anniversary Date: May 18
Don and Mary Jo were in the same tenth grade English class together. He liked her because she was “striking.” She liked him because he looked like Ricky Nelson, a 1960s teenage heartthrob. They went “steady” in high school, but eventually broke up to date others. However, they met again several years later while enrolling for night classes at Memphis State and they've been together ever since.
Their advice to young couples: "Keep God in your marriage and find a good church is very important. Always take your children to church and be sure you walk your talk in front of them. Forgive one another and look for the positives in life. We found this especially true when we encountered problems. Learn to laugh at yourselves. Follow Christian principles, talk about your problems or concerns, and try not to go to bed angry."
Ronnie & Dorcas Hester
Anniversary Date: December 23
One Sunday morning in 1961, at Highland Baptist Church in Florence, Alabama, while Ronnie Hester was standing at the door handing out bulletins, Dorcas walked in and took one. He asked Dorcas if she would go to the movies with him after church that evening, and she agreed. They skipped church and went to the Norwood Theater to see Black Street. By the fall of 1962, they were engaged and married on December 23.
Their advice to young couples: "Have fun, laugh a lot, and don’t take life too seriously. Surround yourselves with loving, supportive family and friends. Give thanks to God in every situation rather than for every situation. In giving God your best, also give your spouse your best. And always seek God’s leadership, praying for wisdom and discernment."
John & Jo Ann Rankin
Anniversary Date: March 17
During the summer of 1961, during John's last semester and Jo Ann's return to Tennessee Tech, they met and began dating. It was a "right place at the right time" kind of moment. On February 18, 1962, John appeared on Jo Ann's doorstep with a bouquet of flowers and a $4 engagement ring. And on March 17, they married. She still wears that ring today.
Their advice to young couples: "God is faithful—all the time. God is always at work. He’s there with and for you during the storms of life. Believe His promises in Romans 8:28 and Proverbs 3:5-6."
Art & Yvonne Helf
Anniversary Date: February 18
Art was a company commander in the U.S. Army at Fort Knox when he met Yvonne, a schoolteacher. They'd both attended a dinner for officers and teachers, and Art says she "stood out."
After many dinners and double dates with other officers and teachers, they became engaged in 1961 and were married on February 18, 1962 in New Albany, Indiana. During the years, faith, humor, and having a heart for the world have supported them as they've changed locales, added children, and pursued new career opportunities.
Their advice to young couples: "Work as a team, find the right church, and identify with other believers who can support and encourage you in life."