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 proudly announces that Ira and Margery Milan of New Orleans has won Louisiana’s Longest Married Couple title for the 2023 Louisiana Family Forum Marriage Hall of Fame! The Milan’s celebrated their 81st Anniversary on January 17, 2023!
Louisiana's Longest Married Couple
Ira & Margery Milan
Ira and Margery met when Ira visited his uncle, who lived in New Orleans. His uncle’s wife had three nieces, Katherine was a bit older, Marie was a bit younger, but Margery was “Just Right.” They were married on January 17, 1942, at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church on Canal Street in New Orleans. Their 1st son was born in October of that year then Ira was called into military duty. He served as a Seabee in the U.S. Navy in the Philippines. On his return, a son, a daughter, and two more sons were born into the family. Their lives were filled with lots of music, friends, and family, and never a dull moment.
Although Margery has recently needed extended care, Ira still lives independently in their home and does a little driving. There is so much more to their story, and it seems that there will be so much more to come. Ira is 100 years old, and Margery will be 100 in July. They have eight grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren.
Margery attended Saint Louis King of France Church for many years and was an active choir member. In later years, she attended Christ the King in Terrytown and could still donate tons of plants to their yearly festival. She now watches the televised Sunday Mass from St. Louis Cathedral, and everyone knows not to call or visit while the Mass is on! Although they can now not participate in active parish life, they are registered at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Metairie.
Lauris & Earline Broussard
LFF proudly co-honors Lauris & Earline Broussard of Gonzales! The Broussards celebrated their 82nd Anniversary on January 25, 2023!
As we prepared to crown them Louisiana’s Longest Married and celebrate at their home in Abbeville, we learned that Mrs. Earline had passed away. Our prayers and condolences go to the Broussard family, loved ones, and especially her sweetheart of 82 years, Mr. Lauris Broussard.
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 for helping in the home and caring for younger siblings at the 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 that 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. From that home, she took a walk on a muddy day and met Lauris in 1940.
Entertainment in those days was at nearby dance halls, which 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 when they 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 in her culinary creations. They have two children, eight grandchildren, seventeen great-grandchildren, and six great-great-grandchildren.
Their strong relationship, lifelong commitment to weight control, and regular exercise are major factors in their success. Mr. Broussard’s advice is to always love one another.
Marriage Hall of Fame
Louisiana's 2023 Longest Married Couples
JAMES C. JR. & VERNA LEE WILSON – MARKSVILLE – MARRIED: MARCH 16, 1944 – 78 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 happening, and James asked Verna to marry him when he graduated 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 normal back then because so many men joined the military and went to 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 and Dad.
She traveled with him while he was in the states training at military bases, and got odd jobs. She returned and stayed with his Mom and Dad when he went overseas. 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 care for 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 your best for each other, and always consider your partner before yourself. March 16, 2023, will mark 78 years of marriage.
WILLIAM & FRANCES ROSEVALLY – COVINGTON – MARRIED: JUNE 25, 1944 – 78 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.
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. Both Bill and Frances served for decades in their American Legion Post before handing it over to a younger crew.
The family has grown to include 25 grandkids and 43 great-grandkids in the past year. In addition, they were ecstatic to celebrate Bill’s 100th birthday on February 4th at his home. Total family members, including spouses and Bill and Frances, is up to 102 people, so it’s always a party when the family gets together!
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!
BURL & MARY CLARK - JENA - MARRIED: MARCH 10, 1946 - 76 YEARS
Mary Martin (originally from Opelousas) met Burl Clark (of Jena) in 1943 at Foster Air Force Base in Victoria, Texas, while she and her mother visited her brother stationed there. They communicated through letters until Mr. Burl left the service, which included World War II. They were married in Opelousas on March 10, 1946, at the Rectory because Mr. Burl was Baptist, and they could not get married in the Catholic Church.
The Clarks lived in Opelousas when they first married & then moved two years later to Lebeau, where he worked in a filling station, and she worked in a cafe there. They moved to Jena, where Mr. Burl worked in department stores and the telephone company before beginning his career at Hunt Oil Company, from which he retired after 35 years. Mr. Burl and Mrs. Mary had a daughter, Gayle, and a son, Glenn, born into their union, but both are deceased.
Mr. Burl celebrates his birthday on July 31 (1923), and Mrs. Mary celebrates hers on April 9 (1926) surrounded by church members and family friends who have always been a blessing. It’s not uncommon to hear “Uncle Burl & Aunt Mary” when speaking of or in their presence as they have been a major part of so many lives, they have become family to lots.
They are still living at home but have helpers come in to help with cleaning and cooking. When they were more able, Mr. Burl enjoyed time spent on anything sports related while Mrs. Mary always worked on a special quilt to give to others.
They are members of East Jena Baptist Church in Jena, where Mr. Burl is a deacon & taught a Boy’s Sunday School class for years. Mrs. Mary has served her church very well as she was Church Secretary, Sunday School Adult Teacher, WMU President, and was dedicated to Vacation Bible School for 17 years. They have always put God first in their soon-to-be seventy-seven years of marriage.
LLOYD & AUDREY SCHROEDER – JEFFERSON – MARRIED: JUNE 11, 1946 – 76 YEARS
MARION & JEAN HESS – NEW ORLEANS – MARRIED: SEPTEMBER 20, 1947 – 75 YEARS
At 95 years old, Marion Ferdinand Hess, Sr., has lived a life that has defied the odds. He survived a premature birth, fighting in World War II, and two deadly hurricanes in his hometown of New Orleans. He has been married to his wife, Jean, for 75 years. At age 17, Marion enlisted in the army to fight in World War II. He was immediately deployed to Germany, where he landed under fire and served under General Patton until the war’s end.
Soon after returning home from the war, Hess met his future wife, Jean Catherine Meliet. On September 20, 1947, Marion and Jean tied the knot just one day after one of the deadliest hurricanes to hit the gulf coast slammed into New Orleans, a category 2 hurricane with sustained winds of 110 mph. Fifty-eight years before the infamous Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane George breached the 17th Street Canal, flooding buildings, causing massive power outages and leaving standing water for weeks. Marion and Jean refused to cancel their wedding, and they were married the following night.
“There was no electricity,” recalled Jean, “so my mother placed lanterns around the church for lighting. She also hired a band for dancing and entertainment, and she placed lanterns all around the reception hall. From that day on, my mother treated Marion like her son.”
PAUL & YVONNE WILSON – MORGAN CITY – MARRIED: OCTOBER 6, 1947 – 75 YEARS
Paul L. Wilson Sr., 97, and Yvonne Williams Wilson, 95, married Oct. 6, 1947. They live in Siracusa Subdivision near Morgan City, LA. They have lived in the same house for over 57 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, five are living. They also have 20 grandchildren, over 62 great-grandchildren, and over 24 great-great-grandchildren. Click here to read more of their story.
REV. C.W. & MOEICE JONES – WINFIELD – MARRIED: DECEMBER 21, 1947 – 75 YEARS
C.W. and Moeice Jones were married on December 21, 1947, in Verda, Louisiana. They had known each other for many years through their respective families. Lifelong residents of Winn Parish, C.W. grew up in Atlanta and Moeice in Verda. Married for 75 years, C.W. is 97, and Moeice is 91. After living in Verda, they relocated to their current address on Atlanta Road, Highway 34, in 1954. They built a new home in 1964, replacing the older family home they had lived in. C.W. worked in sales at Western Auto and Milam and Son before being employed by the U.S. Postal Service, where he retired in 1985. Moeice was an accountant/bookkeeper for U. B. Carpenter’s Department Stores until she retired in 1993. They also managed their horse, cattle, and vegetable farm.
C.W. and Moeice were active church members serving in many roles. Since 1962, C.W. was a bi-vocational pastor for 51 years at many churches in Winn and Grant parishes until his retirement.
They are the parents of two daughters. C.W. was one of 8 boys. Moeice was one of 5, 2 girls and 3 boys. Hosting family dinners, vacations, and reunions have strengthened family relationships on both sides of the family. They have blessed and inspired family, church friends, and community members.
C.W. and Moeice are members of the First Baptist Church, Winnfield, LA. .C.W. is the oldest resident member of FBC. On September 11, 2022, First Church’s Honoring Our Heroes Day, C.W. was recognized as the oldest Winn Parish Veteran.
BILL & HAZEL EDMONSON – MARYVILLE – MARRIED: APRIL 27, 1948 – 74 YEARS
Bill is 94, and Hazel is 95 years old. Hazel recalls a time when she was working in DeRidder when she received a call from a Friend. Her friend told her there was someone who wanted to meet her. Later, Hazel decided to meet him at a local drug store to enjoy a Coke, which began their many years of sharing their lives as a couple.
Bill is a Korean War Veteran and served in the Navy. He served his first 18 months on the island of Guam. When he returned to the states, he was assigned to a destroyer called the USS Lofberg. Their oldest daughter was born while he was stationed on this ship, which was in an area at the time known as the Formosa Strait. Life started as a family when he returned home from the service, and a few years later, their youngest daughter was born.
Bill’s jobs kept him away from home a lot, but through it all, Hazel was faithful to raise the girls in Church, work, and serve in many capacities. Through all these times, God has been in their lives, along with their commitment to their wedding vows of 75 years. In the years with their family, they continue to be VERY BLESSED by their Lord!
MELVIN & GRACE DEVILLE - DEVILLE - MARRIED: JUNE 27, 1948 - 74 YEARS
WAYNE & BOBBIE ROBERTS – SHREVEPORT – MARRIED: OCTOBER 29, 1949 – 73 YEARS
Wayne Roberts, age 90, has been preaching and leading worship at Wood Springs Baptist Church in Grand Cane, La. for over 15 years. Bobbie, age 89 and his partner in a lifetime of ministry, still plays the piano. They both have joyful, energetic spirits as well as a deep love for the Lord’s work and His people.
According to the Baptist Message,
“The pastorate is a second ministry career for him, leading worship in song was his first passion.
His life-long love for music started when he was a teenager in church — and that’s where he found his other life-long love, Bobbie. She played the piano, and he led the music at Avondale Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He was 14 years old, and she was two years younger. Two years later, in 1949, they became Mr. and Mrs. Roberts.
“I wasn’t even thinking about marriage. I had school to finish,” she confessed. “But Wayne talked me into it.”
“I think it turned out all right,” he quipped.
Drafted into the U.S. Army in 1953, Roberts continued in ministry as a chaplain’s assistant, becoming the music director for Sunday chapel in what he recalled was the first Southern Baptist mission work established in the state of Washington.
He later worked for a newspaper in Texarkana while she finished high school, and they both continued serving the Lord at Avondale until 1960. The couple moved to Shreveport, where he ultimately retired from the Shreveport Times after 40 years.
Church music ministry offered Roberts bi-vocational employment for more than six decades as the couple served northwest Louisiana churches.”
Bobbie says that while they weren’t blessed with children of their own, God gave them hundreds in children’s choirs.
NELVILLE LEO & MARY THEARD - COVINGTON - MARRIED: DECEMBER 22, 1949 - 73 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 would marry. It took Mary a little longer to decide, 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.
WILLIAM & BARBARA PATTERSON - SHREVEPORT - MARRIED: JUNE 5, 1950 - 72 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.”
JOSEPH & VIRGINIA TRAHAN - GONZALES - MARRIED: MARCH 26, 1951 - 71 YEARS
When couples say their vows on their wedding day, certainly few would ever consider celebrating their 72nd anniversary. Butsie and Virginia Trahan did not think about that either, but today they are preparing to do just that. They both grew up in New Orleans, off Carrolton Avenue. Butsie joined the Marines, and while he was home on leave one weekend, he and Virginia had their first date at a Mardi Gras Ball in New Orleans.
Butsie said he knew right away that Virginia would be his wife, and on March 26, 1951, they were married. Butsie was 21, and Virginia was 19. Later, they moved to Chalmette to begin their family. Butsie worked for New Orleans Public Service, and Virginia worked in education at Chalmette High School. They had three children and spent most of their married life in Chalmette. After Hurricane Katrina devastated their home and their community, Butsie and Virginia relocated to Gonzales with their daughter, where they reside today. For all of their 72 years together, Butsie and Virginia have been the life of every party.
Their vibrant and unwavering love for each other exemplifies what God intended marriage to be. They often confess that they have lived a very blessed life together. Their example of love, sacrifice, commitment, and the importance of family highlights the tenets of a faithful marriage. Over the 72 years they have been together, their marriage has been a shining light for all to see the goodness of a couple that truly loves each other. Now, both are in their early 90’s, and are preparing to celebrate 72 years of God’s blessings with their family and friends, and we wish them continued health and happiness.
JOHN JR. & BOBBIE DAILEY - EXTENSION - MARRIED: APRIL 14, 1951 - 71 YEARS
BOBBY EARL & PAT HICKS - MARION - MARRIED: JANUARY 12, 1952 - 71 YEARS
Bobby Earl Hicks and Pat M. Crow were married on January 12, 1952, in Farmerville, La. Bobby was from the Salem community, and Pat lived in Marion. Some of the “boys from across the DeLoutre” would ride over to Marion as they were dating some girls from here. Bobby saw Pat, and she sparked a flame in his heart that still burns to this day. They dated for two years, and he asked her to marry him. They planned to elope, but instead of a marriage license, the clerk handed him a consent form for her parents to sign, as Pat was only 15 at that time. Bobby came to pick her up & as daddy was taking biscuits out of the oven, Bobby asked permission to marry. Mr. Crow called to his wife, “Ruth, I think you need to see this!” Mother agreed to sign after Bobby agreed to love and care for her.
Pat continues with some good advice to others: listen to God, put God first as head of household, compromise with each other and make sure to like and love the person you plan to marry.
SKEETER & JAN VARNADO - ROBELINE - MARRIED: JANUARY 26, 1952 - 71 YEARS
DANIEL & INA BERLIN - COVINGTON - MARRIED: MAY 10, 1952 - 70 YEARS
Daniel Stokes Berlin and Ina Clarice Beverly Berlin were married on May 10, 1952, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Covington, Louisiana.
Dan and Ina first met at Citizens Bank in Covington, where they worked as tellers. He was the city boy recently transplanted to the Northshore from New Orleans, the youngest of four boys. And she was the country girl from Waldheim, the second eldest of eight siblings. As the story goes, Dan found Ina beautiful from the start. But it was Ina who was encouraged by a friend to ask Dan out to a Sadie Hawkins hayride, their first of many dates to come. When it came time to propose, Dan brought Ina to eat at Bechac’s in Mandeville. They walked along the lakefront, and he asked her to marry him there. And the rest is seventy years of history!
As long-time residents of Covington, Dan, and Ina have cared for their local community through various acts of service. Dan has served in the Holy Name Society, Parish Council, and as a lector in his church. Ina volunteered as Treasurer for the Ladies Altar Society for ten years.
On May 6, 2001, Dan felt especially honored to receive The Order of St. Louis IX Award from Archbishop Schulte in recognition of his leadership in his parish. He also received the Paul Harris Fellow Award for the Rotary Club in Covington. For most of his life, Dan worked primarily in the banking business until his retirement from First National Bank. And he’s still banking today, serving on the Board of Directors with Citizens Bank & Trust Co. in St. Tammany Parish. Meanwhile, Ina continues to be an amazing southern cook and seamstress.
Now ninety-four and ninety-one, respectively, Dan and Ina have three children, ten grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren. They both enjoy gardening, doing crosswords, and spending time with family. Their favorite song remains “La Vie En Rose,” and they recently danced together to this tune at their 70th-anniversary celebration.
Dan and Ina are members of St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Covington, Louisiana, where they have been in attendance since 1980.
BUD & RAMONA HARLESS - LAKE CHARLES - MARRIED: NOVEMBER 23, 1952 - 70 YEARS
In April of 1952, Bud was stationed at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station in Fallon, Nevada. While on leave for the weekend, he was at a dance with one of his Navy buddies when Ramona walked in the door. When Bud saw her, he told his buddy, “I’m gonna marry that girl.” And, some seven months later…he did!
Bud and Ramona returned to Louisiana in 1954 and have lived in Lake Charles for over 66 years. They had four sons, all of whom are still living, 11 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-grandchild.
Bud and Ramona have faithfully attended St. Margaret’s Catholic Church in Lake Charles for over 65 years.
DOROTHY & RAY YOUNG - WISNER - MARRIED: DECEMBER 20, 1952 - 70 YEARS
JERRY & FRANCES STINSON - RUSTIN - MARRIED: DECEMBER 27, 1952 - 70 YEARS
NICK & LOU MACALUSO - BATON ROUGE - MARRIED: FEBRUARY 1, 1953 - 70 YEARS
Nick was born at home on January 12, 1929, to Nace and Lucy Bravata Macaluso in Tickfaw, Louisiana. He grew up working the red, sandy soil behind a mule-pulled plow on the family’s strawberry farm. The work was hard, but life was good with his mother, father, older sister Celia, and older brother Joe.
Lou was born March 1, 1934, to Joe and Sadie (Spitale) Guzzardo in Independence, Louisiana. She helped her family on their strawberry farm as the youngest of the family’s five children (Sam, Tony, Fannie, JT, and Lou). As a young teen, she sold strawberries from a roadside stand in her front yard on Highway 51.
The couple met at Independence High School in 1950. Nick, having graduated four years earlier, had tagged along with his friend, Anthony Arnone, who drove the school bus route for the school. Lou was still a student at the time. When Nick saw Lou from afar, with a flower in her hair and a scarf around her neck, he knew immediately she was the one and only girl for him!
When he received his Army orders to ship out in 1951, Nick made certain to put an engagement ring on Lou’s finger before shipping out. The beautiful diamond engagement ring was one he had won in a raffle held at Walter Anton’s Jewelry Store on Highway 51 in Hammond.
Nick happily returned from Germany after serving in the Korean war in November 1952, and he and Lou were married on February 1, 1953, at Mater Dolorosa Catholic Church in Independence. They honeymooned in St. Petersburg, Florida. The couple moved to Baton Rouge that same year, and Nick began working for Westinghouse Electric. Their first child Mary was born in 1956, and in 1958, they opened Nick’s Grocery Store on the corner of Huron and Tecumseh in north Baton Rouge, where they made their home behind the store. Their son, Nick Jr., was born in 1960, and Linda came along in 1963. They eventually sold the store and, in 1966, built a new home where they still live today!
Over the course of 70 happy years, they lovingly nurtured a beautiful family of 3 children, 6 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren—who all love and treasure them dearly. Their unending love and devotion to God and family is an inspiration to them all.