Garner: Community

Garner couple celebrates 75 years together

Howard Frank Reed and Doris Ada Fuller married on January 1, 1939; this picture is a wedding portrait from that day.
Howard Frank Reed and Doris Ada Fuller married on January 1, 1939; this picture is a wedding portrait from that day. PHOTOS COURTESY OF APRIL STRICKLAND

As everyone marked the ending of the Gregorian year on Jan. 1, a Garner couple was marking another annual milestone: their wedding anniversary.

In fact, this marked the 75th time the Reeds have rung in the new year as a married couple.

The family held a reception on Sunday the 29th at the White Deer Park Nature Center in Garner. Friends from Rocky Mount, where the couple that met in northern Pennsylvania lived for decades before moving in with their daughter south of Garner, made the trip into town.

“It’ll just be people coming and saying ‘How did you stay together that long?,’” their daughter Diane said before the gathering.

In addition to her daughter and two grandchildren in North Carolina, the couple had a son who moved to Oklahoma and started a family in Ardmore, about 100 miles south of Oklahoma City. (The son passed away 12 years ago.) Doris and Howard have a slew of great grandchildren and great great grandchildren in that state.

“I don’t know how many there are out there. I can’t keep track of them,” Doris said.

Diane said that her parents, despite divergent personalities, compliment each other well. Though slowed by age somewhat, they remain active in their church, Highland Baptist.

“They both love the Lord and the Sunday church things they are able to do,” she said of her parents.

City boy, country girl

Doris, 94, and Howard, 98, met on a blind date in 1937 in Pennsylvania during the Great Depression.

“He was a city boy. I was a country girl,” Doris said.

Their courtship lasted a bit less than two years, Doris said. The marriage lasted substantially longer.

“There is a contrast there, that’s probably what brought them together,” Diane said of their personalities.

Diane called her mother a “gentle, tender-heated lady. Her father had a more outgoing nature. Howard Reed worked for decades as a long-distance truck driver.

The couple briefly moved to Buffalo for a couple years before returning to Pennsylvania. They moved to Portsmouth, Va., 62 years ago; there Howard delivered milk for a living. He wanted to be around his children more. He also worked as a mechanic later in life.

About 38 years ago, children grown, the couple moved to Rocky Mount. There Doris worked at a shop in town.

Asked any advice for other couples, Doris said simply “just love each other, be there for each other.” And asked whether she could have imagined back in the 1930s that she and Howard would still be married, she said no.

“When you get married you don’t think 75 years ahead of time,” Doris said.