Stephenville couple celebrates 75 years of marriage
“There is no secret to a long marriage – it’s very hard work…..it’s serious business, and certainly not for cowards.” - Ossie Davis
Charles and Sue (White) Williams of Stephenville celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary on Sunday, June 27, at the Graham Street Church of Christ Family Center, where they have been members since their teenage years.
These two individuals have much to be proud of. Charles Williams is 98, and Sue Williams is 96. Together, they have two grown children, son Damon of Ovilla, born in 1952, and daughter Susan, born in 1954 and who also lives in Stephenville. In addition, they are grandparents to four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
The Williams couple married on June 24, 1946.
How the connection began
Charles and Sue met while they were attending church services at the Graham Street Church of Christ in Stephenville. Their Sunday School teacher, Mr. Cecil Davis, actually kept trying to get the two of them together. He kept pushing and prodding them, until finally they began to date in the early 1940s.
On down the road, Charles sealed the deal. He bought an engagement ring for his sweetheart Sue in Fort Worth one day. Being a rather quiet man and a gentleman of few words, he just handed her the ring. She then nodded her head, and that was that! They were engaged to be married.
Charles started working at the Stephenville U.S. Post Office in 1947 as a dispatcher. He had also previously been a part of the ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) at Tarleton State for three semesters, but he was then drafted, when the draft age dropped to 18 – and Charles was then 19. From there, he prepared to move to the Fort Worth Carswell Air Force Base to pursue his career in the military.
The couple does recall one funny “post office” story from their early married days. The post office was only about three blocks away, and one morning Charles was on the early shift when he accidentally overslept. He woke up, dressed in a flash, and then started to run to the post office as fast as he could. However, along the way, he was stopped by a local police car officer. He had reprimanded Charles because he had seemed “suspicious” while running by so fast. The officer admitted that he had looked to be “up to no good”!
It was especially kind of the Stephenville Post Office, because they held his job for him, and he came back to work there again after he had completed his military service. Over some time, Charles became the Superintendent of Mail.
Time spent in Fort Worth
To prepare for their future, the couple had bought a home in Stephenville before they left town for Charles' military service. They they rented the house out until they were set to return once again.
The Williams then moved to Fort Worth for Charles to become a flight engineer on the B36 aircraft located at Carswelll Air Force Base. The two stayed there for 21 months as Charles continued his active duty. Their first child was born there in 1952, and the son’s full name is Charles Damon Williams.
While still in Fort Worth, the Williams family attended Riverside Church of Christ. They
remember how all the church men would pitch in every Sunday after church to help build a new education wing of their church. They enjoyed their time together while participating in church events, and that kept them from being homesick for Stephenville.
Back to home sweet home
With Charles' military duty complete, the Williams moved back to Stephenville in 1953. Sue’s mother’s family had been living in their first home, but Charles and Sue needed to move back in at their old place. Soon after, Sue began working at the local Cox's Department Store, where she bought a house from someone working there.
Susan, the Williams’ daughter explains, “Grandma White and Grandma Moses were also planning to move in with the newlyweds in the first house, but my mother thought that was a little much. So, when this lady at work told her that she was selling her house on Paddock Street, my mother said, 'We will take it!' So sight unseen, she went home and announced to Daddy – 'I bought us a house today!'"
Their home on Paddock was their very first “family” home. It was a very small house with two bedrooms and one bath, but it was their home all the same.
Susan continued, “From there, Mother worked at Cox's for one year, then took a job at Tarleton as a cashier. That was when they moved to Fort Worth, eventually came back, and mother got a job as secretary for the Texas Education Agency on the Tarleton campus. She stayed with them, at her same job, until she retired years later.”
Around 1964, the Williams bought and built a larger home located at 720 Alexander Road in Stephenville, and they still live there today. Daughter Susan is happy that she just lives up the road from her parents, too.
When asked how they have been happily married for so many years, wife Sue quickly says, “Our relationship has lasted because we have been willing to talk about all our differences, and we realize that we don’t particularly get our own way all the time.”
In response, Charles adds, “But I do recall that one time she locked me out of the house.”
Sue then remarked with a smile, “I certainly don’t remember that!”
Daughter Susan admits, “I hold my parents up as an example for my children – to show what a beautiful life is possible when God is the center of your relationship.”
Many family members, friends, and other special guests were on hand on Sunday, June 27, to join in the Williams’ very special day of remembrance. The entire congregation had been invited, and a host showed up to honor them in person. The couple are much-loved by their church, and they are the oldest living couple in attendance as members. In addition, Charles served 28 years as one of their elders. So, the two of them have faithfully served their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in their beloved local church almost all of their lives. After all, 75 years is very significant milestone, and here’s to many, many more.