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 2022 Louisiana’s Longest Married Couple for the Louisiana Family Forum Marriage Hall of Fame! The Richardson’s celebrated their 81st Anniversary on September 1st, 2021!
Louisiana's Longest Married Couple
Gail is 102 and Patsy is 100 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 81 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 2022 Longest Married Couples - Runners Up
LAURIS & EARLINE BROUSSARD - ABBEVILLE - MARRIED: JANUARY 25, 1941 - 81 YEARS
Both Earline and Lauris were born in rural environments. Earline was the second of five children born to Alice Suire from Forked Island, Louisiana, and O’neal Dyson from Cheniere au Tigre, Louisiana. Earline’s father died from the Typhoid Fever pandemic of 1930 along with aunts and uncles on both sides of the family. She had to assume responsibility to help in the home and care for younger siblings at the ripe young age of five years. Maternal uncles helped support the family in Cheniere au Tigre where ranching, farming, trapping, and making goods for tourists who visited that Gulf Coast community were the options available for livelihood. There were no community electrical power plants, water systems, sewage systems, or trash collection services to be had. There was, however, a local school which she attended. Supplies that could not be grown there were purchased in nearby towns like Abbeville which were only reachable by boat. When she reached her teenage years, her mother remarried, and they relocated to Abbeville. After a couple of years, she decided to help a maternal uncle needing help caring for his young children. It was from that home that she took a walk on a muddy day and met Lauris in 1940.
Entertainment in those days was at nearby dance halls where youngsters and their parents frequented for fun. Those were good places to get to know others. On their first date, he took her out dancing at a place called Mike’s.
Since both had somewhat strained childhoods and were well cognizant of the responsibilities of being adults, they were prepared for their wedded journey. Lauris was 20 and Earline was 16 years old when they were married in 1941. Both have always been devout Catholics. Combining the moral compass derived from their faith with their willingness to accept responsibility, they set out to create their shared history. From their very meager beginnings following the wedding, they successfully strived to live well while their roots provided the anchor to keep life realistically simple. They are both consummate gardeners. While Lauris took much pride in maintaining his house, yard, and car, Earline could cook any cut of meat to tender perfection. Her gravies, stews, gumbos, and cornbread are sorely missed by all who partook of her culinary creations. They have two children, eight grandchildren, seventeen great-grandchildren, and six great-great-grandchildren.
Their strong relationship along with their lifelong commitment to weight control and regular exercise are major factors in their success. Mr. Broussard’s advice is to always love one another.
JAMES C. JR. & VERNA LEE WILSON – MARKSVILLE – MARRIED: MARCH 16, 1944 – 77 YEARS
James Clifton Wilson Jr. (94) and Verna Lee Hayes Wilson (93) were married on 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 and 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 five 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 and 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. March 16, 2022, will mark 77 years of marriage.
WILLIAM & FRANCES ROSEVALLY – COVINGTON – MARRIED: JUNE 25, 1944 – 77 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 months’ 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 nine children in 17 years (roughly one child every other year, with two 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 four of the girls slept in one bedroom. The oldest got a single bed, while the other three 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 39 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 one-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!
CLYDE & BERTHA MOODY - BOGALUSA - MARRIED: APRIL 5, 1947 - 74 YEARS
Clyde and Bertha were married in 1947 (April 2022 will be 75 years in love). They have two children, Clyde “Billy” Jr, and Charlotte. They have 5 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. They are beloved by their family, community, and their church; Bogalusa First Church. Clyde and Bertha have endured many hardships, but have come through them all with God’s grace, stronger and more in love than before. They are lovingly known to their family as “Honey & Granny.” Honey retired from the local Box Plant as the head electrician. In her earlier years, Granny worked with newborn babies in the hospital and later went on to be a stay-at-home Mom and Grandmother. Honey loves his garden and cows, while Granny loves to take care of her family, especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They always put God first in their marriage and in their lives.
MARION & JEAN HESS – NEW ORLEANS – MARRIED: SEPTEMBER 20, 1947 – 74 YEARS
PAUL & YVONNE WILSON – MORGAN CITY – MARRIED: OCTOBER 6, 1947 – 74 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!
RICHARD & GERALDINE VAN TIEM - SHREVEPORT - MARRIED: FEBRUARY 26, 1949 - 72 YEARS
Mr. Richard says, “We met at Barksdale Air Force Base while I was stationed there. I wasn’t actually supposed to be there. She worked on base. We have four children, seven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. We have lived in Louisiana our entire lives.”
JACOB (JP) & THELMA JONES – LAFAYETTE – MARRIED: JULY 22, 1949 – 72 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.
NELVILLE & MARY THEARD - COVINGTON - MARRIED: DECEMBER 22, 1949 - 72 YEARS
Mary was 14 when she met Nelville at a school dance. A friend of his convinced him to go. He never went again, because as he told his friend, he had met the girl he was going to marry. It took Mary a little longer to come to this decision, but she did.
They married when Mary was only 16 and Nelville was 18. They raised five children who gave them eight grandchildren and are the great grandparents of 19 living children and one deceased. Nelville is active in the Knights of Columbus and has been The Knight of the Year on more than one occasion. Mary is a retired real estate agent and a Church volunteer. They are always very supportive of their children’s activities and serve as CYO chaperones and Scout leaders with enthusiasm. They continued their support of their grandkids’ activities and never missed a sporting or dance event. They are both originally from New Orleans but now reside in Covington, Louisiana.
HAROLD & JUANITA BEAUGH - CHURCH POINT - MARRIED: SEPTEMBER 3, 1950 - 71 YEARS
ANGELO JAMES & JOSIE LEWIS - SHREVEPORT - MARRIED: OCTOBER 29, 1950 - 71 YEARS
Angelo says “We met on the trolley. She was getting out of 8th grade, and I was graduating from Fair Park High School in 1946. I passed my draft exam, was drafted, and we decided to get married. She was 18 and I was 21. We were married at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Shreveport. Our son was born on February 5, 1952. We have lived in Louisiana our whole lives.”
KENNETH & JO ANN MCBRIDE - LECOMPTE - MARRIED: MARCH 24, 1951 - 70 YEARS
Mrs. Jo Ann met Mr. Kenneth when he was visiting her church. He saw Mrs.Jo Ann on stage and wanted to know who she was, so he asked her aunt “Who’s that girl?” The rest is history!
Mr. Kenneth always put Mrs. Jo Ann first, but not above the Lord. He was her caretaker as she went through cancer and has been her steadfast support.
Donald & Juanita Daigrepont
Married: April 18, 1954
Years Married: 67
James & Cherry Roy
Married: December 22, 1956
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Years Married: 65
Leslie & Nellerlee Mizell
Married: December 24, 1955
Years Married: 66
Larry & Ruby Little
Married: February 19, 1960
Bossier City, Louisiana
Years Married: 61