KINGSPORT — Folks at Colonial Heights Christian Church think 1958 was a great year.
They came together Friday night to celebrate the 60th wedding anniversaries of two couples, Tom and Linda Ricketts and Brenda and Wendell Boyd, who have long been members there. They also celebrated the 60th anniversary of the church's founding.
"When she tells me to do something, I say, 'Yes, ma'am' and do it," quipped Wendell Boyd, who said in all seriousness his bride helped get him through 20 years in the Air Force, including time in England and Vietnam, after they married Oct. 11, 1958 in Castlewood, Va.
"It was give and take," Brenda Boyd said. He added, "It's not 50-50. It's 100-100. It takes all." She said, "We got married because it was forever. You work at it."
The Ricketts, who got married in Blountville Nov. 2, 1958, first met in her father's store in the coal country of West Virginia, but she was not impressed.
"When I first met him, I did not like him. I didn't want to date him. I didn't want to marry him," Linda Ricketts recalled. He said, "I follow orders real well." After all, he served in the Navy a while.
Both couples lost a child, the Ricketts a son and the Boyds a daughter and both said the church helped them through their losses.
"Without the church, I don't think I would have made it," Brenda Boyd said.
In addition, the group included Lewis Willingham, who with wife Virginia celebrated his 87th birthday Friday and a third couple, Sally and Roger Marshall, who marked their 55th anniversary this year.
Thanks to the efforts of the Ricketts' daughter Robyn Young and Boyds' daughter Wendy Fields, the celebration was planned. Young said the event was a surprise until her mother's brother, Carl Cochran, accidentally "spilled the beans" about the celebration.
However, all was forgiven, and Executive Minister Bruce Montgomery said the church is a loving family to all its members and the community, which it serves with a food pantry that lead preaching minister David Mullins said provides groceries for 100 families a week with help from Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee.
"This is a family," Montgomery said of the church Mullins said has about 350 to 400 in attendance each Sunday.
Young said just outside the fellowship hall where the celebration was held she's been working on the celebration for about two months that that "it really came together with the help of every single person who's in there."