Each year LFF honors Louisiana’s longest known married couples 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 Wallace and Gladys Menard as Louisiana’s 2019 Longest Married Couple. The Menard’s celebrated their 80th Anniversary on September 17th, 2018!
Louisiana's 2019 Longest Married Couple
Married: September 17, 1938
Years Together: 80
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 and sharecropped the land they were living on, making $10 a year on the cotton. 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, he 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 over his father-in-law’s school bus route for Lafayette Parish. Sometime after, he opened his own mechanic shop at their home in Judice and worked there until his retirement. Upon retirement, they 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!
Louisiana's 2019 Longest Married Couples - TOP TEN
GEORGE & LAURA HARRIS – BATON ROUGE – MARRIED: APRIL 4, 1940 – 78 YEARS
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. They have even lovingly 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). George also 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. George and Laura are very proud of their 3 children, 10 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren, who are all very close.
GAIL & PATSY RICHARDSON – GONZALES – MARRIED: SEPTEMBER 1, 1940 – 78 YEARS
Gail is 99 and Patsy is 97 years old! Patsy recalls that on their first date, Gail took her fishing. Their lines got tangled and they’ve been together ever since!
Gail, a World War II veteran, was in the medical corps, traveled overseas in the hospital unit, and later moved into infantry. Their oldest child was only six months old when Gail left for the service.
Gail and Patsy’s marriage was more than a joining of two hearts, it was a joining of two faiths. Gail attends First Baptist Church Gonzales and Patsy goes to St. Mark’s Catholic Church. Patsy says people told them they would never make it, but here they are, still together after 78 years! She says that they’ve always respected one another’s faith and it has never caused problems. Communication is key, according to Patsy.
For Gail, age is just a number. “You’re only as old as think you are, and I don’t think I’m very old,” he says.
The Richardsons have two sons and one daughter who is deceased, 16 grandchildren (one deceased), 24 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
LARON & VIOLET WATERS – ALEXANDRIA – MARRIED: MARCH 22, 1941 – 77 YEARS
The courtship of Laron and Violet Waters began 86 years ago on a dirt road in central Arkansas. As a young man, only 10 years old, Laron carried the books of Violet Moore to their 5th-grade classroom. He knew in his heart that she was the one for him and after high school graduation they married.
Laron served in the military for three years and then after coming back to Arkansas, the two began a family. Their two boys Ronnie and Danny were born in Little Rock and after a career change in 1950, they moved to Alexandria, Louisiana and two girls, Sharon and Karen, completed their family. Laron, a builder, and contractor, and Violet, the “home” maker, traveled extensively throughout the United States building houses and even a church in New Orleans.
Now after 78 years of marriage and 4 children, 8 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great-grandchildren they have exampled a heritage of love and commitment. This example has set a standard and thankfully, at this time, there has not been a divorce in any of their children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren. Currently, this amazing couple still live alone in their home in Alexandria, Louisiana and with good fortune, they may make one more trip to Branson to celebrate their wedding date!
CHARLES & HELEN SIMON – MANSURA –MARRIED: AUGUST 2, 1942 – 76 YEARS
Charles Simon and Helen Dupuis met in Mansura, Louisiana at a gathering spot for teenagers called the “Pop In.” On Sunday nights, they would visit with friends and dance (the girls were chaperoned by their mothers!). Charles finally asked Helen to dance under the watchful eye of her mother. As the weeks progressed, he danced with no one else!
They were married at St. Paul’s Catholic Church on August 2, 1942. Charles was drafted into the U.S. Army that October. 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 no longer live there, 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 & LOIS STROMEYER – METAIRIE – MARRIED: JANUARY 26, 1943 – 76 YEARS
Fred and Lois met after a party 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 parishioners to this day.
Lois, Valedictorian of her high school, gave up her scholarship to be with Fred and raise a family. Both of them were members of a square-dance club and loved to be active. Fred was an usher at St. Catherine of Siena Church until his late 80’s.
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, her prayers were answered.
One of Fred’s biggest joys is making people laugh – everyone who knows him knows his joke-making! Throughout their marriage, they loved to travel and still have separate photo albums for each trip they took. 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 prefer spending money making memories with their family over anything else.
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. She was an active parent.
Fred loved to exercise and he would get up at 4:00 am six days a week and drive to Metairie Playground where he walked 3 miles each day until his early 90’s. When Fred was in his 70’s, he raced his high-school-aged grandson and realized he enjoyed running. He trained for and entered the Senior Olympics and medaled six 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 three days a week until she was in her late 80’s.
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.
DAVID & MAGGIE SINGLEY – DELHI – MARRIED: OCTOBER 15, 1943 – 75 YEARS
David and Maggie met at a youth meeting at the Dunn Baptist Church in Dunn, Louisiana when they were teenagers. Around age 16, they began dating – which consisted of David walking Maggie home from church about 3 miles. Soon, David’s family moved just down the road from Maggie and their love for one another grew. With their parents’ approval and blessing, they were married at 18 years old on October 15, 1943, in Rayville, Louisiana. The following year in December 1944, David was drafted into the U.S. Army and was stationed in the Philippines and was later sent to Japan. He served in the Headquarters Company 3rd Battalion 19th Infantry and was awarded two Bronze Stars for his bravery. He was honorably discharged in October of 1946.
Shortly after David was drafted, he and Maggie had a son. He didn’t see his newborn son again until he was 18 months old. When he returned home from the Army, he farmed for a few years and, in 1953, took a job at Climax Molybdenum Company in Climax, Colorado. Maggie stayed in Louisiana to care for her invalid mother. By this time, a daughter was born. In 1957, David moved his family to Leadville, Colorado and continued to work as a welder at the Molybdenum mine until he was medically retired at age 60. Maggie worked as a cook and kitchen supervisor for the Climax Molybdenum Company for many years and then supervised the kitchen at Copper Mountain Ski Resort for 20 years. In 1999, after living in Colorado for 42 years, they moved back to where they were raised, Dunn, Louisiana.
Family is important to David and Maggie. Before Maggie and their two children moved to Colorado, they spent the summer with David. He drove them 135 miles to Pueblo to catch the train back to Louisiana. David and Maggie could not bear to say good-bye, so he took them back to Leadville for another week. He eventually took off work and drove them home to Dunn, — a 24-hour drive. Those years were difficult being apart, but their love stayed strong. Later, two more children were born.
David and Maggie were actively involved in the Leadville Assembly of God Church, serving in any way they could. David played the guitar and was a part of the church orchestra. He later served as a deacon and Sunday school teacher. Maggie taught children, cooked, and served many meals for ministers and missionaries. They made many lasting friendships during those years; they still keep in contact with some.
This couple believes in the importance of family and faith, raising four children — Rev. Loyd E. Singley (Patsy) of Crowley; Barbara Singley Rose (Rev. Walter) of Anna, Texas; Beverly Singley Morgan of Lake Charles; and William B. Singley (deceased) — instilling in them love, devotion, commitment, prayer, and faith in God: the things that have helped them have a long and strong marriage. They also have 8 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren of whom they are very proud.
KENNETH & ALMA HONEYCUTT – MER ROUGE – MARRIED: APRIL 27, 1944 – 74 YEARS
Kenneth and Alma Honeycutt have been married for 74 years. The couple has shared a long and prosperous marriage with six children, nine grandchildren, and sixteen great-grandchildren.
“I wish every couple could have shared the lives we’ve shared. Life is much more bearable knowing you have a loving family,” Alma says. The couple originally met 77 years ago at an event in the small town of Mer Rouge. Kenneth’s sister Iris declared, “It was love at first sight!” Alma recalls, “We first met in 1941, and I thought he was the cutest thing I had ever seen! We were married in 1944 at St. Joseph Catholic Church.” It was during the war, and Kenneth came in on leave to marry his sweetheart.
“This love story should be an inspiration to all married couples as well as those thinking of tying the knot,” friend Daniel Harris said. “They are the sweetest, kindest, most thoughtful people you could ever meet.” Kenneth’s favorite activity is dancing with his bride. He is a quiet man, the winds beneath Alma’s wings. Alma is a natural leader and has received many civic awards throughout their marriage. He likes to say, “When they vaccinated Alma, they used a phonograph needle.”
Kenneth and Alma have been very active members of their community, and have served with the Mer Rouge Community Chest (a local charity that helps citizens in need), the Salvation Army, the Mental Health Board, the Cancer Fund, and Crippled Children’s Foundation. Alma continues to be active in The Women in God’s Service (TWIGS), an organization that ministers to residents in Oaks Woods of Mer Rouge Wellness and Rehabilitation Home. Kenneth served for a number of years on the board of directors at Oak Woods. They are both members of The Veterans of Foreign War. Alma served as Chairman of the Citizens’ Committee, which renovated the Bastrop Courthouse, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Kenneth and Alma have been celebrated as the oldest citizens of Bastrop, a town that interlocks with its neighboring Mer Rouge. In addition to volunteering in formal organizations, many folks have dropped by their home over the years to seek counsel and assistance with all kind of problems and needs.
“We stay pretty busy,” Alma said. “We haven’t given up at 95 years of age. We stay prayerful for the future of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We pray that there will be peace in the world and a return to God’s moral standards. Alma and Kenneth constantly praise the Lord by declaring, “God has been so very good to us!”
WILLIAM & FRANCES ROSEVALLY – COVINGTON – MARRIED: JUNE 25, 1944 – 74 YEARS
Bill Rosevally and Frances Macaluso Rosevally grew up in the same neighborhood, across the street from each other as children. They’ve known each other practically all their lives.
Bill went into the Navy (Seabees) for WWII and sent home a letter to Frances in 1944 and told her, “I will be home on leave in June, get everything ready, we’re getting married.” Somewhat taken aback by his method of “proposing,” Frances showed the letter to her Mother who replied, “Well, the first thing we have to do is get you a dress!” And, so the planning and preparing began with just two month’s notice! With a limited budget, they bought the food and drinks they were going to serve and decorated the KC Hall themselves, along with the myriad of other things that go into planning a big wedding.
Bill and Frances were one of the first families in the neighborhood to have a TV when they came out. They had 9 children in 17 years (roughly 1 child every other year, with 2 miscarriages). Their oldest son, Billy was born in 1946 (who passed away from a stroke at the age of 45 in 1992) with their last being born in 1963.
They were renting out one side of a shotgun double, but subsequently took over both sides and converted that to a single home. Over time, they did some remodeling to accommodate the growing and aging offspring. At one point, all 4 of the girls slept in one bedroom. The oldest got a single bed, while the other 3 slept on a pull out sofa bed. You don’t see that kind of closeness in raising kids these days.
Now, this loving family has blossomed into 25 grandchildren and 35 great-grandchildren, with the potential for more great grandkids in the future.
Bill and Frances raised their family in the Carrollton neighborhood of New Orleans proper, Incarnate Word Parish. They moved into Our Lady of the Rosary Parish (also in New Orleans) until all of the kids were out of the house, then they downsized to a 1-story home in Covington, Louisiana. Mom volunteered and served in the Adoration Chapel at St. Peter Church in Covington for many years and also volunteered at St. Tammany General Hospital for numerous years where she was honored with a plaque on the wall. Bill volunteered and worked many decades as a Coach at Incarnate Word school and then became a supervisor at New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD) where he coached the likes of Cooper and Peyton Manning as well as all of Moon and Verna Landrieu’s kids. Both Bill and Frances served for decades in their American Legion Post before handing it over to a younger crew.
They have instilled a strong faith in their family that continues to be passed down to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, a legacy that bears much fruit – one couldn’t ask for more than that!
FERRIS & MARGARET ROMAIRE – MORGAN CITY – MARRIED: NOVEMBER 24, 1946 – 72 YEARS
Margaret and Ferris Romaire had a “simple” wedding when they tied the knot on Nov. 24, 1946, in Morgan City, Louisiana. So simple that apparently, nobody thought to bring a camera to the wedding.
That’s why 70 years after that “simple” wedding, the couple spiffed up for a professional photographer and finally got the wedding pictures they never had.
Margaret Romaire said activities like walking gave both her and her husband time to think and led to the good health that has kept them together for seven decades. She also credits her husband’s help around the house with a happy marriage. “He washes and irons own clothes and he cooks,” she said of Ferris.
The Romaires have four children, eight grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
Hardie Lee & Artemissia Ford
Married: March 29, 1947
Years Together: 71
Click here to read their story!
Paul & Yvonne Wilson
Married: October 6, 1947
Morgan City, Louisiana
Years Together: 71
Burnell & Te Nunez
Married: June 10, 1948
Bell City, Louisiana
Years Together: 70
Lynn & Lois Tompkins
Married: November 15, 1948
Years Together: 70
John & Bessie Wiltcher
Married: July 26, 1947
West Monroe, Louisiana
Years Together: 71
Click here to read their story!
Charles & Annalynn Holloway
Married: February 19, 1948
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Years Together: 71
Thomas Medford & Mae Hogg
Married: July 30, 1948
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Years Together: 70
Click here to read their story!