2018 Marriage Hall of Fame

LFF honors Louisiana’s longest known married couples annually as an effort to encourage individual marriages, build a stronger marriage culture and to remind Louisiana that lifelong marriage benefits everyone.

This year Louisiana Family Forum will honor Varrie and Lawrence Player as Louisiana’s Longest Married Couple at their home in Benton, Louisiana. The Players celebrated their 83rd Anniversary on January 27, 2018! Click here to view the press release!

Click here or the image below for Lawerence and Varrie Player’s story of a lifetime of commitment and dedication!


 

Varrie and Lawrence Player

Married: January 27, 1935
Benton, Louisiana

Years Together: 83

 

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Player, for 83 beautiful years! The Players are life-long residents on their family’s property in Benton, Louisiana. They met in 1925 and were married by the age of 21 and 15, respectively. They now have eight living children, 35 grandchildren, and 21 great-grandchildren. What a legacy! Louisiana Family Forum (LFF) endeavors to remind Louisiana decision-makers and couples, young and old, that marriage is a covenant among three parties; the bride, her groom, and their God! Marriage not only “works” but it has the power to produce legacy, loyalty, and love for a lifetime.

From left to right: Gene Mills, Lawrence Player, Varrie Player, Blanche Mills, Congressman Mike Johnson (R-La.)


 

Wallace and Gladys Menard

Married: September 17, 1938
Duson, Louisiana

Years Together: 79

 

Wallace and Gladys met at a dance hall in Abbeville, Louisiana in the summer of 1937. Wallace would ride his bicycle all the way from Lafayette to Abbeville to see his lovely lady every Saturday night until they married September 17, 1938. After getting married at ages 19 (Wallace) and 16 (Gladys), the two lived in Lafayette as farmers. They farmed the land they lived on for share crop and made $10 year on the cotton they harvested. For a while, Wallace and Gladys had no electricity, no indoor bathroom, and no car, just a horse and buggy for transportation.

On July 15, 1939, after being married for about a year, Gladys gave birth to their first child, John Wilbert Menard. Following John, their second and third children were born, Robert Joseph Menard and Mary Grace Menard.

In November of 1944, Wallace was drafted into the Navy to serve during WWII. Nine men in his platoon, including Wallace, were plagued with the mumps during their time of service. For Wallace, this resulted in a loss of hearing, which led to his discharge from the Navy after only 7 months.

In 1963, years after Wallace’s return from the Service, Wallace and Gladys built their home in Judice, Louisiana, where they are currently living today. In order to build their home, Wallace worked for a charity hospital making $30 a month and Gladys worked for a local grocer making $1.50 an hour.

After settling in their home, Wallace went to work for the Service Chevrolet as a mechanic for 25 years, and later took his father-in-law’s school bus route for Lafayette Parish. He later opened his own mechanic shop at their home in Judice and worked there until his retirement. Upon retirement, Wallace and Gladys were able to finish raising their children. As their family continues to grow, Wallace and Gladys are blessed to be able to know and love their grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and even their great-great-grandchildren!

 


 

John and Hernie LeJeune

Married: May 10, 1939
Basile, Louisiana

Years Together: 78

 


 

George and Laura Harris

Married: April 4, 1940
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Years Together: 77

 

After having met through a mutual friend at a crawfish dinner while attending LSU, George and Laura Claire Harris dated 2 years before being married at the old Sacred Heart Church in Baton Rouge on April 4, 1940.

They rented a small house for their first two years, but when the rent went up $2.50, they decided to build a house where they still live to this day. George did accounting at night for a number of local businesses to save up and buy their first car, an Oldsmobile, affectionately known as the “Old Brown Bomb.”

Together, they belonged to several dance clubs, enjoyed traveling across the country and remember seeing one of the first TV’s in a shop window while in New York. With their deep faith and trust in the Lord, they have both been very involved in volunteer work with several Christian ministries and their church, First New Testament, as well as, opened their home to traveling missionaries.

Laura who received her Master’s in music in 1938 taught piano in various schools and provided private lessons for over 55 years. She was a charter member of Baton Rouge Piano Teacher’s Association and created a number of piano contests for her and other’s students. She also enjoys painting.

George, who graduated LSU in 1939 in accounting, went back to work for Exxon (45 years) and helped start the Exxon Federal Credit Union (1934) and even did the books out of his house for a short time. He was involved in the National Board of Credit Unions and received the keys to the City of Monroe after helping start a Credit Union there.

He spent several years making fancy dollhouses to mimic plantations, family homes and other special houses for family and friends. They are very proud of their 3 children, 10 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren who are all very close.

 


 

Charles and Rita Serio

Married: May 6, 1942
Morganza, Louisiana

Years Together: 75

 

Wedding bells have been heard ringing for seventy-four years on May 16th as Rita and Charles Serio celebrate the gift of their married love! It only takes a few minutes of being around them to witness the love that they share, as their motto has always been: “I have found the one whom my heart loves!”

It has been said, “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” For Mr. and Mrs. Charles Serio, better known as Maw and Paw or Mr. Charlie and Mrs. Rita, a couple married for the past 74 years, this quote has become a lifelong dream come true. For you see, they were childhood sweethearts who fell in love in the sixth grade over a box of sparklers, and still today they enjoy being together honoring the covenant of sacramental love!

Married on May 16, 1942, in Morganza, Louisiana, while Mr. Charlie was on a ten-day furlough from the military, this couple committed to becoming visible signs of God to their family and friends. This loving union of husband and wife speaks loudly of their family values! Some of these blessings include spending summer vacations at the beach with their three children and their spouses, four grandchildren and their spouses, and their eight great-grandchildren, touring such places as the Caribbean Islands, Alaska, Italy, Sicily, France, Germany, Sweden, Egypt, England, Israel and Jerusalem with family and friends, dancing to their favorite songs of the 1940’s, and hosting family gatherings on Sundays and special holidays! They can often be found teaming up in the kitchen with Maw doing the cooking and Paw washing the dishes. This dynamic duo has a special place in the hearts of many who know them. Their eagerness to share stories of the past with family and friends makes visiting with them truly a privilege and an honor!

This couple acts with humility and is always thinking of others. They are servants of grace who cultivate love, joy, and peace in all whom they meet! Maw can be found every morning in quiet meditation with her little homemade prayer book which includes special prayer cards and pictures of her children and their families. For you see, she prays for each one by name on a daily basis. She often asks for recent pictures of her great-grandchildren to update her prayer book. Prayers for close friends, relatives and even people she does not even know are also included in her little book! Paw served our country during WWII from 1941-45 in the U.S. Army as a forward observer in the 995th Field Artillery Battalion. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his bravery.

Mrs. Serio is well known throughout the parish of Pointe Coupee for her meticulous skills in the art of sewing. She can often be found mending, altering or even making garments for local friends and her church parish. Mr. Serio delights in the skill of carpentry, restoring antiques, designing furniture for his children and grandchildren, and also helping neighbors with odd jobs around their homes. Both continue to be active in St. Ann’s Catholic Church parish, as well as, the community of the Village of Morganza. They have participated in the Senior Olympics, often being gold and silver medalists in their respective categories.

So, what might we say that can be identified as the glue in this successful marriage? Well, it is a mixture of prayer, family and a simple lifestyle which allows time for this special couple to continue falling in love time and time again! Maw and Paw, Mrs. Rita and Mr. Charlie, or Mr. and Mrs. Serio, whatever name one knows them by, truly have been an inspiration and great model of the sacrament of marriage to many! May God rain down His blessings on them, as they recall the joy of many memories that they have made together over the years!

 


 

Scott and Doris Tatum

Married: June 17, 1942
Shreveport, Louisiana

Years Together: 75

 


 

Arnold and Olga Jones

Married: July 10, 1942
Lillie, Louisiana

Years Together: 75

 

Arnold Jones and Olga Wells met in Junction City when he was 18 and she was 16. He was raised in the Hollygrove community, attending Summerfield High School, and she grew up in Junction City, LA. They eloped with another couple and were married in Norphlet, AR, on July 10, 1942. Their entire married life has been lived on the Stateline Road in Junction City.

Arnold was drafted into the U.S. Army and served 25 months in the European Theatre. Their son, Arnold Douglas Jones, Jr., was born while he was serving in Europe. Their daughter, Karen, was born a year after he returned home. Arnold carved a small indention in his rifle to hold Olga’s photo, and that photo has remained in his wallet ever since he returned from the war. His wallet was washed recently and he was so afraid his photo was ruined, but it remained intact-good sealer on it!

Olga is a homemaker, taking care of the home and family, and Arnold pursued a career in the sawmill business. He worked at Reynolds Draper Lumber Company, which became Georgia Pacific Lumber Company for 43 years. As the manager, he became well-known for his expertise in his field. He developed a method for drying export lumber, gaining recognition in the European market. The family is active in First Baptist Church of Junction City. Arnold serves as a deacon and is still the go-to person when anything needs to be done at the church or parsonage. He has been a member of the city council for 17 years.

Arnold enjoys caring for the home, cutting grass, trimming trees, and taking care of needs at the church or city. Olga enjoys keeping the house and cooking wonderful meals daily. Her family looks forward to her dumplings and hot water cornbread.

Their son, Doug (Donna), lives in Little Rock, and daughter, Karen Smith (Melvin), lives in Junction City. They have four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. It is a joy to see the love and devotion that is present after 74 years and the admiration for this couple by friends and family.

 


 

Charles and Helen Simon

Married: August 2, 1942
Mansura, Louisiana

Years Together: 75

 

Charles Simon and Helen Dupuis met at a gathering spot for teenagers called the “Pop In” located in Mansura, Louisiana. On Sunday nights, they would gather to visit with friends and dance where the girls were chaperoned by their mothers. Charles finally asked Helen to dance under the watchful eye of her mother, eventually dancing with no one else as the weeks progressed.

They were married at St. Paul’s Catholic Church on August 2, 1942. Charles was drafted into the U.S. Army in October 1942. Four years later, Charles was discharged and returned home. Together they raised eight children; five boys and three girls. The hardest part of their lives was losing two of their children to illness.

In addition to their eight children, Charles and Helen have 22 Grandchildren, 43 great-grandchildren, and 4 great-great-grandchildren. They are expecting another great-grandchild and another great-great-grandchild this spring.

Although they are no longer able to reside in their home, their 75th wedding anniversary celebration was held at their home with approximately 100 family members in attendance. Their marriage was once again blessed by their priest.

 


 

Fred W. and Louis Stromeyer

Married: January 26, 1943
Metairie, Louisiana

Years Together: 75

 

Fred and Lois met after a party Fred attended when he dropped by the house with her sister’s boyfriend. Fred was playing piano there when he noticed Lois and said he knew at that very moment that she was “the one.” They were together for 3 years when Fred enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed in France. They knew they would be apart for a long time and so when Fred was on furlough, on January 26, 1943 (two weeks before Lois’s Valentine’s-Day-birthday), they were married in St. Catherine of Siena Church in Metairie where they are still parishioners to this day.

Lois, Valedictorian of her high school, gave up her scholarship to be with Fred and to raise a family. Both of them were members of a square-dance club and loved to remain active. Fred was an usher at St. Catherine of Siena Church until his late 80s.

During the long years Fred was overseas, Lois prayed every night that they would never be apart again. Except for her recent stay at a hospital during which time Fred visited her every day, they were always together.

One of Fred’s biggest joys was making people laugh – everyone who knows him remembers his joke-making! Throughout their marriage, they loved to travel. They have visited almost every state in the union, creating friendships with people from around the United States, some of whom remain close to this day. They preferred to spend money making memories with their family over anything else and still have separate photo albums for each trip they took.

After working as a life insurance agent with Metropolitan, Fred eventually had his own State Farm agency where he worked until he was 75. Lois worked at Ochsner Hospital for a stint while the kids were in school, where she was an active parent.

Fred and Lois were members of a square dance club when their kids were small. Fred loved to exercise and he would get up at 4:00 am 6 days a week and drive to Metairie Playground where he walked 3 miles each day until his early 90s. When Fred was in his 70s, Fred raced his high-school-aged grandson and realized he enjoyed running. He trained for and entered the Senior Olympics and medaled 6 times for Louisiana, earning a trip to the National Olympics. Once the kids were grown, Lois joined a dance and exercise group where she danced 3 days a week until she was in her late 80s.

The importance of family values was just one of the secrets to their lasting marriage. They instilled these values in all of their children: Dr. F. Wayne Stromeyer of Baton Rouge, Gary Stromeyer of Metairie, and Judy Stromeyer Weitz of Metairie. They also have 7 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren of whom they are very proud.

 


 

Russell and Marie Adams

Married: May 7, 1943
Farmerville, Louisiana

Years Together: 74

 


 

 

David and Maggie Singley

Married: October 1943

Years Together: 74

Wilton and Mary Borskey

Married: January 14, 1944
Jackson, Louisiana

Years Together: 74

Kenneth and Alma Honeycutt

Married: April 27, 1944
Mer Rouge, Louisiana

Years Together: 73

William and Frances Rosevally

Married: June 25, 1944
Covington, Louisiana

Years Together: 73

Charles and Carolyn Ennis

Married: April 28, 1945
Mandeville, Louisiana

Years Together: 72

John and Doris Wilson

Married: November 27, 1945
Rayville, Louisiana

Years Together: 72

Gerald and Oleta Hilbun

Married: January 16, 1946
Farmerville, Louisiana

Years Together: 72

Melvin and Aver Braneff

Married: January 23, 1947
Farmerville, Louisiana

Years Together: 71

Robert and Betty Rivet

Married: February 21, 1947
Shreveport, Louisiana

Years Together: 70

John Paul and Nan Fields

Married: April 13, 1947
Gibsland, Louisiana

Years Together: 70

John and Bessie Wiltcher

Married: July 26, 1947

Years Together: 70

Andrew “Jack” and Mary Rogers

Married: September 3, 1947
Shreveport, Louisiana

Years Together: 70

Fred and Aline Robertson

Married: September 12, 1947

Years Together: 70

Howard and Julie Gates

Married: December 21, 1947
Alexandria, Louisiana

Years Together: 70

Burnis and Charlotte Wilburn

Married: January 12, 1948
Pelican, Louisiana

Years Together: 70

Socrates and Jane Lorant

Married: February 1, 1948
Shreveport, Louisiana

Years Together: 70

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