Friday, June 14, 2013
Celina couple celebrates 70th wedding anniversary
When asked their secret, Thresa joked, "We just tolerated each other."
CELINA It all started on the Square: Boy meets girl; boy and girl get married; boy and girl have children. But in this love story, one Celina couple’s marriage spans across seven decades’ worth of life-changing history, and it all began during World War II.
Ralph and Thresa O’Dell celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary June 13, a feat not many couples reach. Their love story began in 1942 when they met on the Square in downtown Celina one Saturday night and decided to start dating.
“We were both from Celina, [but] we didn’t go to school together,” Thresa said. “But our families knew each other.”
Ralph attended Alla (Hubbard) School while Thresa went to school in Celina. The duo had grown up knowing who each other were, but it wasn’t until that fateful night on the Square they started dating.
“It must’ve been [love at first sight], we kept going together,” Ralph said.
The lovebirds continued to go to school, but on June 13, 1943, then 17-year-old Thresa put on her best dress – a navy blue one with white bows – and she and Ralph, who was 18, went down to preacher Dr. Weedman’s house in Denton to get married. The preacher’s wife was the witness.
“Back in those days, it didn’t take much [to get married]” he added. “If you got a marriage license, the preacher signed it.”
“We didn’t have a big wedding, for sure,” Thresa chimed in.
Their honeymoon phase was cut short when three and a half months after the wedding, Ralph was called to active duty and was stationed in the Pacific during World War II. He spent two and a half years in the service, but the couple later went on to have three children, six grandchildren, and five great grandchildren – a lifetime of memories, including a trip to England and Paris, and traveling across the U.S.
“I don’t know if there’s a secret to it,” Ralph said. “I guess we’ve always settled arguments peacefully. We’ve always had a good home, [and] good kids. We’ve been fortunate.”
“We just tolerated each other, I guess,” Thresa added with a smile. “[It was] the kids, I think. They’ve always come back home.”
About 20 years ago, the two moved back to Celina from Waco where Ralph had worked.
“We retired back home,” Ralph said.
The O’Dells will be celebrating their lifetime of love with friends and family June 23 at the First United Methodist Church Youth Center in Celina.
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