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A Love Story for Valentine’s Day

The most fabulous benefit of having a blog is all the wonderful folks it brings into your life. I have truly met some of the nicest Dearhearts over the past two years. Recently, I was chatting with Phyllis and she shared a little about her wonderful parents and their life together. It’s the most perfect love story and with Valentine’s Day only a few days away, I knew I had to share it with you.

Phyllis told me her parents, Bill and Tomi, are in their 90s! Her dad was born in 1916 and is 94 years young and her mom, born in 1920, is 91 now.

Last November, they celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary! Wow! They were married in November 1939 and have been married 71 amazing years! For their 70th Wedding Anniversary, there was a big celebration with over 350 people in attendance!

This is Phyllis with her parents (Bill and Tomi) at their 70th Wedding Anniversary celebration. Phyllis and her husband, Bob have been married 47 years!

Phyllis’ Dad is one of three surviving members of his high school class…the Class of 1934! This photo was taken when they were riding in their Home Coming Parade in Rochester, Texas.

Bill and Tomi attended Bill’s college reunion at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. I asked Phyllis about the medal her dad is wearing in the photo below. She said, “It is the Golden Guard medal awarded to graduates after being out of school for 50 years. Each year a special luncheon is held and the new recipients come to accept their medals. The medallions are blessed and considered to be a true keepsake.”

Phyllis, told me her dad is the only living member of his college graduating class. Phyllis said her dad jokes he is “the last bird on the roof.” I think having a good sense of humor must be vital to a long, happy life. :)

I asked Phyllis if her parents would mind sharing a little about their lives together over the last 71 years. I was so excited when Phyllis told me that they said, yes! I e-mailed over just 5 questions and Phyllis jotted down her parent’s answers. Their story is one of perseverance, selfless giving to others and a deep respect and love for each other. I hope you enjoy this beautiful Valentine’s Day love story about two very special people.

Where did you meet and when did you marry?

Tomi:
Bill was the new coach in my mom’s hometown. He had just moved to his new school position the first of September 1939. We met while walking down the sidewalk. We did not own cars as very few people had cars in our town and people walked everywhere they wanted to go. The meeting was not exactly by chance as I, (Tomi) had seen him and heard about him from my sister who was in high school. I wanted to meet him and maybe date him. Our paths crossed, luckily, and we introduced ourselves. I invited him to church the next Sunday and the rest is history. We married on a Friday evening, November 2, 1939, after knowing each other for just a few short weeks; however, we knew that we were in love. We married in the home of Bill’s high school principal and he (the principal) invited all the faculty to come at 7:00pm for a teacher’s meeting with refreshments. No one knew they would be attending a wedding.

The principal’s wife made a wedding cake, punch and decorated the parlor with flowers. Bill wore a suit and tie and Tomi wore a blue velvet dress. When the guests arrived, they were “shocked” to learn they were attending a wedding. Phyllis said, “My mom told me that they were the “talk of the town” and everyone said that their marriage would never last.”

Phyllis added that her Dad “served the Texas Public Schools for 40 years. He was a coach, teacher, principal and Superintendent of Schools, retiring from Frisco, Texas public schools as the Superintendent. He was elected and served on the Texas State Board of Education for 6 years donating his experience as this is the only non paying elected position in Texas.”

What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in your lifetime?

Tomi:
The cost of living has changed vastly….the cost of automobiles, groceries, utilities, medical treatment and prescriptions, gasoline, clothing, housing, are beyond our beliefs. When Bill and I first married, he made $70.84 a month. This was enough for us to live moderately. We have always tried to be frugal and good stewards with the money the Lord provided.

Later in our marriage when I became pregnant with our only child, Phyllis, the medical bills and doctor’s fee were approximately $150.00 which we paid out in monthly installments. Phyllis was a “prepaid” baby or a “layaway” baby.

Technology has grown to be what it is today…….from a tablet of paper, pen and pencil to computers, laptops, smart phones, etc. Of course, it happened gradually for some years so we adjusted to the changes. However, the last few years, progress is rapidly advancing and is difficult to know what some of it is about.

We started out in early marriage with a radio. Television had not been invented yet. Then came black and white television, then color TV and now the new ones are like going to the movies.

When we married one could not buy a loaf of bread in a grocery store. The women made the bread at home for each meal. I still bake bread three to four times a week and make homemade cinnamon rolls three times a week. At the time of our marriage, bread could be purchased from a local bakery shop for about 6 cents a loaf.

What was the scariest time you have seen as a married couple?

Tomi:
World War II, without a doubt, was the scariest times of our lives. Bill served in the European Theater as a Counter Intelligence Corp agent, a spy for America, constantly in harm’s way. He was in a unit of 15 men, all CIC agents and it was so secret that none of them knew each other’s names. But they worked side by side to gain intelligence throughout the war. After the war was over, Bill and his unit of 15 men stayed in Germany an extra year to capture war criminals. His group caught a lot and turned them in . The most important man they captured was Herman Goehring, the head of the German Air Force and Hitler’s right hand man.

I never knew if he was safe, as not much communication via letters was allowed, since his job was so secretive. The long days and nights were difficult to bear. My little daughter and I missed him so much. We lived with my parents during World War II and helped in our own way here on the home front. There was a lot of sacrifice on the part of the American people. But our faith grew stronger and we trusted the Lord to unite us once again for a happy life. HE has done more than that for us. God has given us a loving home, family, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and our health for 71 years of married life. We are blessed and most thankful and give credit to the Lord.

What would you say are the key ingredients to a happy marriage?

Bill and Tomi:
The first thing in our minds is to ask God to help you build a Christian home. Raise your family in the church. Then apply these other things: Love, good communication with each other, respect, compassion, a spirit of forgiveness, patience and no secrets from each other, and service to others through job, church, or volunteering. We have tried to live by these and they have served us well.

What advice would you give a young couple just getting married?

Bill and Tomi:
We think that all of your question #4 would apply to a couple just getting married. Never give up on your marriage…always work out any problems quickly and mindful of the other partner. Apologize if necessary. The longer you are married, the better the marriage gets. Live as pure a life as possible and always ask God to guide you.

Bill added, “And do not forget to brag on your wife’s cooking!”

Phyllis says, “Everyone who meets them falls in love and it has always been that way since I can remember as a child. They are people-loving, caring for others, nurturing, and great listeners. There is just a glow about them, a certain charm that is not explainable. All of my friends adore them, as well as the people they come in contact with. My mom lives to cook and entertain. The party never ends for her and she has my dad deliver home-made goodies to “elderly shut-in” from our church. Every week she makes homemade breads and cinnamon rolls, freezing them and then decides who will be the recipient of Tomi’s Temptations.”

This is Phyllis’ favorite picture of her parents. Phyllis told me, “when I retired from teaching five years ago, my husband took my parents and me on a river cruise in Europe. While leaving the ship in Frankfurt, Germany, I was walking along behind my parents and took a photo of them holding hands. It has become one of my favorite photos of them as it sort of depicts how they have held hands and walked through this life together.”

Happy Valentine’s Day!




Comments

  1. A wonderful heart warming real life story! Thanks for sharing their amazing love….I can see the glow of their love just by viewing the pictures.

  2. What a beautiful story ! Thank you so much for sharing these adorable people with us !

    gena

  3. wow!
    Lovely photos!
    Rosa

  4. Pamela Gordon says:

    What a delightful couple! Thank you for sharing this story of true and lasting love based on Godly principles and values. And Happy Valentine's Day to you Susan and your dearly beloved! Blessings, Pamela

  5. Susan, thank you for sharing this special love story. My mom is 96, but lost her sweetheart, my dad, many years ago. It's heartwarming to know that Phyllis's parents continue to enjoy a life together. They are a beautiful couple! It's wonderful to see a couple in their 90s who have shared a lifetime together. Makes my heart sing!
    Happy Valentine's Day to you and to this precious couple. ~ Sarah

  6. Carol at Serendipity says:

    What a lovely story.

    Carol

  7. What a lovely couple! Thanks for sharing this beautiful love story.
    It's so good to hear of someone from my part of the country. Rochester, Texas is just a few miles from where I grew up and mom still lives, Munday, Texas.

    Love your blog!

  8. Mr. Goodwill Hunting says:

    What a touching story.

    Mr. Goodwill Hunting

  9. Loved this so much, Susan!
    Thank you!

  10. Loved this so much, Susan!
    Thank you!

  11. Thelittlebrownhouse.us says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this – what an amazing story! It is incredible to think of all that has happened in their lifetime -

  12. I am still trying to focus with tears of joy in my eyes after reading the love story you have written about my parents! Thank you for sharing this Valentine with your readers….words that lack the true gratitude that I feel, but the only ones that are coming out of my fingers as I type. My parents send you their love and, also, give you huge hugs from afar. My dad is speechless, for once, and my mom said that they had never received such a gift in all of their lives!

  13. Terry @ La Bella Vie says:

    Wow this is just the most wonderful love story and the true meaning of the word "marriage".
    What a lovely, lovely couple!
    I have sent this beautiful story on to several other friends just so they can enjoy this special tribute as much as I have!
    Thank you for sharing and Happy Valentines day!
    Terry

  14. Very sweet, and such great advice.
    I have been charmed,
    Lisa

  15. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    That's such a beautiful story, Susan! I have tears in my eyes I am so touched by this happily married couple. God bless them!

  16. Crystal @ Ordinary Days says:

    Such a sweet story! Thank you for sharing it. :)
    ~Crystal

  17. Phyllis is one lucky girl to have such wonderful parents! She must be pretty wonderful too.

    AND boy, they look great!!! I would not have put them in their
    90's. It must be the homemade bread and cinnamon-rolls.

    A most perfect Valentine story and I am so glad I got to read it!

    Mary
    From Virginia

  18. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Phyllis, it was truly my pleasure! Thank you and your parents for sharing the beautiful story of their lives together…my heart is smiling. :)

  19. What a great story! They're the same age my folks would be if still living and they celebrated 58years just months prior to daddy's death in 1996. Hubby and I will be celebrating our 50th this July! What a blessing to know about this couple. Thank you for sharing with us.

  20. Susan,
    This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us. What an inspiration!

  21. I just love love love this story…a true valentine's day one to remember! Thanks for sharing….
    Cheers
    Rochelle

  22. IAMSNOWFLAKE says:

    Thanks for sharing such a lovely story of love! WOW, 71 years together and still counting blessings and bringing joy to their life, family, friends and those in need. Happy Valentine's Day!

  23. Vintage Girl says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful love story. I just adore the advice and memories, should we all be so blessed to live such a full and happy life. Thank you Bill and Tomi for being a wonderful example of God's love and service. I wish you only the best and God's precious peace and love. Phyllis…oh how it must be so precious to have have such giving and loving parents. I won't soon forget this real life, ongoing love story…..Blessings, Heather

  24. Wow what a beautiful couple! Thanks for sharing Susan. Amazing story!

  25. Oh wow! That was so sweet I was tearing up. If only we could all be so lucky and blessed. Being married that long is like a miracle. I'm just sitting here sighing, it is amazing.

  26. Bonnilynne says:

    I loved this story… so heart warming. Thanks for sharing it with us all! ♥

  27. One Woman's Thoughts says:

    Thank you for sharing such a delightful love story.
    My heart is smiling. May they have many more years of love together.

  28. Thank you for sharing this story. I pray that in 60 years someone will write a story like that about our marriage. What an inspiration!!
    Pam

  29. What a precious and touching love story and life story!

    Susan, thank you for sharing it with your readers. You, through Phyllis, Bill and Tomi, have blessed us with a most beautiful Valentine's Day gift!

    To God be the glory!

  30. Sue @ Not the Good Scissors! says:

    This is without a doubt one of the sweetest love stories I have come across in a very long time! I have tears in my eyes.
    Happy Valentine's Day to all, Sue

  31. Kathy@ Gone North says:

    What a sweet story. And a testimony to God's faithfulness, as well as thiers. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  32. Thank you for sharing this precious couple and their story. What a special Valentine!
    Carolyn

  33. Thank you for providing such a warm loving ideal of what a life time of love can bring. Indeed, the longer the marriage and love the bigger it gets and affects those around you. You made my day!

  34. A Perfect Setting says:

    Such a beautiful and heartwarming story!!

  35. Lenita Vidal says:

    Thank you for this love story so beautiful!
    Kisses
    Lenita Vidal
    Brazil

  36. What a beautiful love story! Thanks for sharing it with your readers..It reminded me of my own in-laws.They had a big 50 and 60th. and made 64 yrs. before death took MIL from us. FIL spent next 18 mo. in Alzheimer's facility before his death. The pictures made me think of my in-laws.
    These people sure don't look their age!

  37. Mid-Atlantic Martha says:

    What a wonderful love story! Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful couple with us.

  38. Thanks so much for this. This is a lovely story. They are a beautiful couple, inside and out, and they have no wrinkles!

  39. Thank you for posting this amazing love story!

  40. Now THIS is a love story.

  41. Sweetest story every! Thanks for sharing! :)

  42. Barbara Anne says:

    Susan and Phyllis,

    Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful and true love story with us!

    DH and I will have our 39th anniversary in April!

    Tomi and Bill are just the cutest couple to this day! Happy Valentine's Day to them! Thanks be to God!

    Hugs!

  43. I was around 14 years old when my grandparents celebrated their 50th Anniversary. Even though I thought it was an amazing accomplishment then, I couldn't envision spending so many years with anyone. Now I have been married for almost 45 years. It is a real possibility that we will reach that 50th milestone. It's still hard to believe that I could spend so many years with anyone!!! :) We've had a lot of ups and downs, but here we are. 71 years?? If we're still breathing by then, we'll make that one too.

    Makes you wonder why some couples manage to find the right person to marry, while others don't…. even after multiple tries!!

  44. Karie's Chic Creations says:

    I am so glad you shared that story. How sweet and inspiring. Thank you so much. Karie

  45. This is the best post ever:) What dear and precious people.

  46. What a wonderful couple…and a wonderful story!!

  47. Beautiful story!

  48. chris -East Coast Suburbanite says:

    I adore this post. Thanks so much for this story. It's truly amazing and inspirational. I hope that someday I too can say I've been blessed to celebrate 71 yrs with the love of my life. Thanks again.

  49. What a blessing these two people are! Thanks for sharing their heartwarming story.

  50. Cindy Beall says:

    What an amazing couple. I have the privilege of knowing them and having them as adoptive grandparents. Bill, "Tat", was my dad's boss when I was a young child. Tomi, "Mamaw" was a close friend of my mom.

    Haven't seen them in several years but they are close to my heart and always will be.

    Thank you for sharing their love story.

  51. This truly warmed my heart and is soooo encouraging!!! Thank you so much for sharing this!!!

  52. Lauren & Eddie says:

    What a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing it!

  53. Lori Lucas says:

    What a great, great story. I just love it. SO many lessons for us each to learn. One of my favorite posts of yours ever and I LOVE your blog! Lori L

  54. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

  55. What a heart warming story. You can tell they are true Valentines. To have lived through so much and so many years together, is certainly a testament to a good marriage.
    Phyllis, no wonder you are proud of your parents and they are such a handsome couple.
    Wish them a Happy Valentine's Day from me.

  56. Awwww, Susan. Great post. The story of this sweet couple brought tears to my eyes. They both look absolutely wonderful, after a life of service to others.

    Thanks for sharing this very special story. We can all learn something from them. Susan

  57. What a perfect Valentine's Day story!
    I love it…thanks for posting it. I hope my hubby and I can tell our 71 years together story in another 58 years!

  58. Designs By Pinky says:

    What a sweet, sweet love story!!!! They are just adorable!!!! I hope Joe and I can celebrate 70 years one day! Thanks so much for sharing this great story! Happy almost Valentine's, Susan!!!! XO, Pinky

  59. What a fantastic post! I love this story and have always admired those who live such a long life together. I'll be sure to share this post with everyone!

  60. lvroftiques says:

    What a wonderful heartening story! I'm just hoping I can make it 71 years! vanna

  61. Tears! Now why isn't this stuff on TV for all to see?!

  62. Hi Susan,
    you share a real love story. So nice to see the photos of this couple and they do look very happy togehter. I wish them a long and good time together for the rest of their lifes. Thank you for sharing such a heartwarming story.
    Greetings, Johanna

  63. Susan (My Place to Yours) says:

    What a beautiful story! You gave your readers a wonderful gift when you extended the reach of this dear couple's love and commitment for each other — and shared it with us. We should share this with all of "young" couples we know. There's a lot of wisdom here… I LOVE the Homecoming parade picture!

  64. Amazing love – so rare these days! Thank you so much for sharing that wonderful story. All married couples – young and old alike – should read this.

  65. That is a wonderful story! I am sitting here with trears in my eyes! I am such a mush. The pghoto of them holding hands is sweet – I hope my marriage is so awesome. We have almost 10 years in so we are on our way. Building your life on God is so important as they said. I agree with all those statements and pray we can heed their wise advice.
    Stacey of Embracing Change

  66. Love Being A Nonny says:

    I LOVE this and I so desire this for me and hubs! We celebrate 36 this year…I am so proud!

  67. A wonderful Valentine's Gift you have given to me by posting this lovely, warm hearted story!
    This is "Stuff that Dreams are Made of"-(a song by Carly Simon)!!!
    Truly a LOVE Story!!!

  68. Thank you for sharing this inspirational story! They have been blessed with much, but also having long-lived parents, I can also say they have been blessed with the gift of good health, which we take for granted. Love each other, but eat healthy…exercise…take care of yourselves! This couple's glow is a lovely Valentine's gift…

  69. FABBY'S LIVING says:

    Than you so much for sharing such a perfect love story for Valentine's month.

    I loved reading about them and all their comments on life then and now…very interesting. I only hope my hubby and me are together celebrating our 71 anniversary, in the next 35 years…as we're celebrating our 36th., Feb. 25, 2011.
    God Bless this beautiful couple.
    HAPPY VALENTINE'S.
    FABBY

  70. What an amazing story you have shared with us. I am taking their advice to heart. How inspiring that she makes all those cinnamon rolls for others.

  71. What a wonderful and inspiring story! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  72. Thanks for sharing this tribute to a happy & long-lasting marriage from "the greatest generation". I hope there will be many more marriages like this one among "generation X", etc.!!

  73. Well if that story doesn't warm your heart this Valentine's Day I don't know what would. Thanks to both Susan and Phyllis for a wonderful inspiring story of love of life and God.

  74. I love your blog and am definitely a romantic but for some reason skipped reading this when it first appeared. I'm just overcome with the love shared by these two wonderful people, and the life they continue to enjoy together. Inspiring! Thank you for introducing them to all your followers, am sharing on my facebook page so all my friends can enjoy this story on Valentine's weekend!

  75. What a touching love story!! Makes you step back and look at your sweetie and want to try harder to over look the little things that tend to get on our nerves. Maybe if we did we could all have a love story like that!!

    Side note: I am asking some of my most favorite, talented blogger friends to help me with my living room….would you mind taking a look and leaving me a comment with any suggestions that you have. It would be really appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Cricket
    http://cricketscafe.blogspot.com/

  76. A beautiful story and a wonderful life, well lived! Thank you for sharing! Brought tears to my eyes!

  77. This is truly the perfect Love Story.
    I can only hope to look so lovely at age 91. Thanks you for sharing this beautiful love story with all of us.
    Carolyn, Charlotte, NC

  78. I am Bill and Tomi's favorite son-in-law (Oops, I believe the story mentioned they have only one child). I only wish to add one thing to the story. To have fully told all the accomplishments, contributions, and traits of this wonderful couple would have taken all of the capacity space of the blog. They are loved by hundreds and have absolute zero enemies. When a bump in their road comes along, they merely look at it as a slight rise toward heaven and keep going. They are beyond amazing.

  79. That is such a WONDERFUL story.
    In this age of 'desposible relationships' it is lovely to see that a great marriage can last!!!!
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  80. Handy Man, Crafty Woman says:

    what a great love story! They remind me of my grandparents, who are sadly gone now; but they were married in 1936.

  81. Karin Sen Cankan says:

    I am trilled to hear a wonderful story, thank you for sharing, I hope we all leave to have a long happy marriage too.

    Please send my love to the Bill, Tomi and Phyllis

    Love
    Karin

  82. This is an absolutely beautiful story of a couple who have honored God and each other and have lived a very blessed life. Thank you for sharing.

  83. What a beautiful story and an inspiration to my own marriage!

  84. Country Glenda says:

    What a blessed life they have had. I think they should become pre-wedding counselors. They could tell today's brides and grooms a thing or two.

  85. Congratulations to this wonderful couple and their family. How blessed they are to have each other.♥

    Thank you for sharing, Susan.

  86. What an amazing love story!! i love these two precious souls!!! Thank you so much for sharing!
    My mom and dad just celebrated their 50th and Tom & I will celebrate the big 20 this fall.
    I thank God for these blessings!

    Hugs,
    Lana

  87. Hi Susan what a sweet post and how perfect with Valentines Day being tomorrow.Their very blessed to have each other. I enjoy your blog so much and just become a follower. Martina

  88. What an amazing post and what a truly beautiful mum and dad you have there. Amazing that your mum is still doing all that cooking and thinking of others. We couldn't have had a more heart warming story for Valentine's Day x

  89. what a beautiful story. They have all their priorities in the right place and honoured God above all. What a lovely legacy they leave for their family. A pity that so many youngsters today place emphasis on material things, wish the couple all the best for their future togethers. Thanks for posting such a positive, encouraging story – we need more of the good stuff.

  90. Proverbs 9:11 NIV
    For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.

  91. Louis Flewharty says:

    Thank you for featuring this lovely couple.It is sooo appropriate to share their love story at this time. Coach Hudson was my high school coach that I had the priviledge to respect and love. My father hired him as coach for Greenville,High School. He was perfect. My wife and I have the honor to visit the Hudsons for Coach's annual b'day.Tomi is a wonderful cook and precious lady whom we adore. Happy Valentine's Day
    Louis Flewharty, Class of 1949, Greenville High School, Greenville, TX

  92. Love it! The world needs more wonderful examples like them!

  93. What a beautiful story and most importantly, what a beautiful legacy of love and faith. Thank you for sharing this story.

  94. This is my first timeto visit your lovely blog and oh my. What a wonderful post. The thought gripped me…How many of any of us get to spend 70 years of our lives with anyone we love moreover our own sweetheart/helpmeet?….what a blessing indeed and thank you, Phyllis, Tomi and Bill.

  95. SavannahGranny says:

    So beautiful. We can all only hope to live a small part of this wonderful story. I think theirs is the example of God meant when he we marry and become one.
    Thank you for this touching story. Hugs, Ginger

  96. Dawn Jones, Spinner Extraordonaire says:

    Sweet story. I especially like the last photo of the couple holding hands. Blessings! Dawn

  97. Tapping Solution DVD says:

    What a very sweet and love story!

  98. Shanae Branham says:

    I love this story. Thank you for sharing. I love people and their stories. By the way, I have a contest giveaway on my blog you might find fun. Take a look. triumphandtears.blogspot.com

  99. What a wonderful post about this amazing couple. I wish them many more years together. God Bless them.
    Joyce

  100. Cathy Gregg says:

    Imagine my surprise to see this beautiful story of two of our dearest friends of nearly 30 years! If I had to define them with only one word – it would have to be "Gracious". We had the privilege of living two doors down from them and my daughter thought they were her special grandparents. God Bless them and I am thrilled that Phyllis shared this story…some of it I have never heard.

  101. Sharon in Tulsa says:

    Such a beautiful story, and the picture of the two of them holding hands speaks so loudly about the bond of love between the two of them.

    I can certainly see why this post if in your "FAVE POSTS" category. It is one of my favorites, too!

  102. pam ~ Crumpety Cottage says:

    That picture made me cry. :(

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