Marriage is one of the greatest institutions ever devised by the Creator. Healthy marriages are the cornerstone of healthy families, the foundation for raising productive children, and a great blessing to the man, woman, and any children or grandchildren involved.
Each year, LFF honors Louisiana’s longest-known married couples as an effort to encourage healthy marriages, build stronger cultural support for the institution of marriage, and remind Louisiana that lifelong marriage benefits everyone.
LFF is proud to announce that Patsy & Gail Richardson of Gonzales have won the title of 2021 Louisiana’s Longest Married Couple for the Louisiana Family Forum Marriage Hall of Fame! The Richardson’s celebrated their 80th Anniversary on September 1st, 2020!
2021 Longest Married Couple
Gail is 101 and Patsy is 99 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 the 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 80 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.
Louisiana's 2021 Longest Married Couples - Runners Up
LARON & VIOLET WATERS – ALEXANDRIA – MARRIED: MARCH 22, 1941 – 79 YEARS
The courtship of Laron and Violet Waters began 88 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 79 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 will celebrate their 80th anniversary on March 22, 2021!
CHARLES & HELEN SIMON – HESSMER – MARRIED: AUGUST 2, 1942 – 78 YEARS
Charles and Helen Simon met at Pop-In when they were teenagers in Mansura, LA. Charles stated that the first time he saw Helen, he knew she was the one. They married at St. Paul Apostle Catholic Church in Mansura, LA., on August 2, 1942, before he was drafted for World War II in October 1942. Charles after serving in the U.S. Army was discharged in February 1946.
Once discharged, they began their lives with Charles owning and operating Charles Mobile Station and Helen raising their eight children. Helen stated that the hardest part of their lives together was losing two of their beloved children to illness.
During their long marriage, they have traveled to most of the continental United States, Canada, and Mexico. Charles and Helen visited many of our Nation’s Natural Parks. With their many friends, they enjoyed the love of camping in their RV. They belonged to RV clubs and also each year attended his World War II reunions. Their enjoyment of gardening and watching their children grow into independent adults brought joy to them. Along with their eight children to leave their legacy are 22 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren, and 8 great-great-grandchildren.
DAVID & MAGGIE SINGLEY – DELHI – MARRIED: OCTOBER 15, 1943 – 77 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.
JAMES C. JR. & VERNA LEE WILSON – MARKSVILLE – MARRIED: MARCH 16, 1944 – 76 YEARS
James Clifton Wilson Jr. (93) and Verna Lee Hayes Wilson (92) were married March 16, 1944. They grew up in the Effie, Vick community in Central Louisiana. Both were going to school at Lafargue School in Effie, Louisiana.
They met while in the 6th grade. They dated during high school. World War II was presently going on and James asked Verna to marry him when he was graduating from high school in the 11th grade. At the time, there were only 11 grades. He was a senior and she was a junior. The very next year, the school system changed to 12 grades. James was 17 and Verna was 16 when they married. It was a very normal thing back then because so many men were joining the military and going off to the war. James had to ask Verna’s dad for her hand. He was scared to death but it all worked out. While James was heading to Germany to fight the Germans, Verna lived with his Mom & Dad.
She traveled with him while he was in the states training at military bases and got odd jobs. When he went overseas, she came back and stayed with his Mom & Dad. James was a State Farm agent for over 54 years and Verna was the greatest home mother anyone could ask for, teaching her three children how to cook and take care of a home. They have 5 Grandchildren and 11 Great Grandchildren.
“Our family was very active in our church and we grew up in a wonderful Christian home,” said their son, Bruce. “Through many ups and downs in our life, we always had a solid rock to cling to from our Dad & Mom. They were always there for us.”
James and Verna taught their children that marriage is like a job. You have to always work at it, give it your best for each other and always consider your partner before you. This March 16, 2021, will mark 77 years of marriage.
WILLIAM & FRANCES ROSEVALLY – COVINGTON – MARRIED: JUNE 25, 1944 – 76 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. In this last year, we celebrated Mom’s 95th Birthday (April 2020) and Dad’s 98th birthday this year on 1/31/21 via drive-by parades. It was such a great way to show them how much they are loved without risking their health! It was great to see everyone some we haven’t seen in years.
Additionally, in 2020, the loving couple welcomed 4 new great-grandsons, making the total number of great-grandchildren 39!
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 the 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!
BERNIE & ANNA LEE DINGER – BERWICK – MARRIED: JUNE 25, 1946 – 74 YEARS
Bernie and AnnaLee were born and raised in Berwick, La. They met as teenagers and after a short courtship, they married some 74 years ago! They settled here in Berwick and raised 3 children while Bernie captained boats in the oil industry and AnnaLee held down the home front. Theirs is a story of love, commitment, and strong faith in the Lord. They have been long time members of Lighthouse Community Church and I often tell our congregation that if they need any marriage counseling, go talk to Bernie and AnnaLee! Bernie’s simple response to how they’ve managed to make it to 74 years is that he just does whatever AnnaLee tells him! The Dingers are a joy to pastor and a testament to the strength of a faith-filled marriage! – Pastor Mo Seneca.
I.D. & BETTY BOSTIAN – MANY – MARRIED: SEPTEMBER 21, 1946 – 74 YEARS
I.D. and Betty Bostian met in Mansfield, LA. when he was a U.S. Army soldier trying to hitch a ride back to the army base with another buddy. Betty and her friend picked them up on their way to church and took them to church with them. The rest is history! They had two children, Cheryl (who passed away in 2018) and Randy. They still love to jitterbug (and still can better than couples much younger than them) and have quite the social life (well, more so pre-COVID). My grandfather still plays golf when he can on Sundays! They are very healthy and loving and are a great example of long life, love, and health!
FERRIS & MARGARET ROMAIRE – MORGAN CITY – MARRIED: NOVEMBER 24, 1946 – 74 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 14 great-grandchildren.
HARDIE LEE & ARTEMISSIA FORD – MANSFIELD – MARRIED: MARCH 29, 1947 – 73 YEARS
Hardie and Artemessia Ford were married on March 29, 1947. They have eight children, twenty-three grandchildren, thirty-four great-grandchildren, and eight great-great-grandchildren.
They give credit for their life-long commitment to one another to faith in God, patience with each other, and love for family.
MARION & JEAN HESS – NEW ORLEANS – MARRIED: SEPTEMBER 20, 1947 – 73 YEARS
PAUL & YVONNE WILSON – MORGAN CITY – MARRIED: OCTOBER 6, 1947 – 73 YEARS
Paul L. Wilson Sr., 95, and Yvonne Williams Wilson, 93, married Oct. 6, 1947. They live in Siracusa Subdivision near Morgan City, LA. They have lived in the same house for over 53 years. Yvonne Wilson is a Morgan City native, while Paul Wilson was raised in Patterson, LA. The Wilsons have eight children: two daughters and six sons. Of the eight, six are living. They also have 20 grandchildren, 62 great-grandchildren, and 24 great-great-grandchildren. Click here to read their story!
JAMES (JIM) & IRMA CHERAMIE – GALLIANO – MARRIED: DECEMBER 23, 1948 – 72 YEARS
James and Irma met in 1947 at Lee Brothers Dance Hall in Cut Off, LA, and married on December 23, 1948. They had 3 children James Jr., Cheryl, and Chris(deceased). They raised their niece Cecile from age of 4 months when her Dad passed away, they also helped raise Irma’s youngest brother Jeffrey and helped raise their oldest grandson Jody. That’s what families did back then. They took care of their own.
Jim was an oyster fisherman for over 60 years, he began working on the boat with his Dad at age 9. After his retirement from oystering, he worked as a security guard at Port Fourchon until age 80. Irma did the books for the oyster business and worked volunteer at Catholic Community Center for 30 years. We may not have had much money but we always had love and good food on the table.
Jim (90)& Irma (89) still live in their home, although they are not as active as they used to be, they still do their best to have Sunday family get together for lunch.
WILEY & AUDREY DUKE – BATON ROUGE – MARRIED: JANUARY 21, 1949 – 72 YEARS
Wiley and Audrey grew up in Baton Rouge and lived there their whole lives. Wiley fought in World War II under General Patton where he received the bronze medal and the purple heart. He is a war hero who suffered greatly for our freedom. Audrey retired as a registered nurse in Baton Rouge. They have one adopted son.
Wiley is 95 years old and Audrey is 94 and they have been married for 72 years. The Dukes are still getting around really well for their age and they are both sharp as a tack.
“They both have represented our state and our country and their God proudly. My uncle Wiley and my aunt Audrey are my heroes. God bless you for honoring marriage. This pastor appreciates you. ~Steve Farmer – Southland Community Church, Hammond, Louisiana
JACOB (JP) & THELMA JONES – LAFAYETTE – MARRIED: JULY 22, 1949 – 71 YEARS
JP and Thelma Jones married in 1949 after he fell in love with the friend of the “girl next door.” Thelma was a teen and visiting her friend who lived next door to JP and his parents. He had just returned from WW 2 and after a long romance they married in 1949.,
They have had a long and happy marriage with mutual respect and dedication to each other. After four bouts with cancer, Thelma is now unable to walk, so 95-year-old JP is her sole caretaker. They accept no outside help with him taking care of her 24 hours a day.
We can all hope and pray for a spouse that is totally dedicated and loyal.
Their marriage has produced one daughter, Cheryl Cockrell, a son in law Brent Cockrell, 2 grandchildren Paul Cockrell and Leah Landers, and a great-grandson, Jacob Cockrell.
BERNARD, SR. & DOROTHY PENTES – METAIRIE – MARRIED: SEPTEMBER 17, 1950 – 70 YEARS
Benny and Dottie, as they are known, met while working for Western Union. She is a country girl from Ponchatoula and he was a city boy raised in New Orleans. He served in WWII in the navy. She moved to New Orleans at the tender age of 17 with only one dress to her name. They were married in September 1950. She borrowed her dress and he had to borrow shoes.
In the years that followed they had four children. They worked hard and raised their family in the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, then moving to Metairie in 1972. They were blessed with 11 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. They are loved by many, and everyone who met them calls them “cute.” They attended Grace Lutheran church until Covid hit but still remained involved as much as they could. Their love remained steadfast up until Bernard’s recent passing on January 25, 2021.
Willard and Betty Ann Landrum
Married: June 12, 1950
Dry Prong, Louisiana
Years Married: 70
Clyce and Ruth Lingenfelter
Married: December 29, 1950
Years Married: 70
Alvin Herschel and Pauline Honeycutt Welch
Married: May 26, 1951
Prospect Community, Louisiana
Years Married: 69
Donald and Juanita Daigrepont
Married: April 18, 1954
Years Married: 66
James and Cherry Roy
Married: December 22, 1956
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Years Married: 64
Irving Sr., and Adeline Cormier
Married: April 24, 1954
Years Married: 66
Huey P. and Betty Jean Evans
Married: November 24, 1957
Years Married: 63