Milton and Mary Campbell recently celebrated a wedding anniversary that most couples just don't see.
The couple celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary with many friends at Hope Haven Retirement Center on Wednesday of this week. There will be two more celebrations, for the couple's birthdays in May, also. Milton is 98 years old, and Mary is 96. His birthday is May 14, and her birthday is May 4.
Milton was born in Chicago, but moved to Gresham when he was small. Gresham is a suburb of Chicago, according to Milton. He grew up with three sisters and three brothers and they all attended the Gresham Methodist Church.
Milton's wife, Mary, was born in Indiana, but the family soon moved to Chicago. She had two sisters and three brothers and after a period of years, they moved to Gresham, and began attending Gresham Methodist Church.
Gresham Methodist Church holds a lot of memories for the couple, as they related that they enjoyed many good times in the youth group and participating in several activities in the church.
“We were just teenagers when we met,” Mary said. “We enjoyed each other's company immensely; and at first, we were just really good friends.”
Time passed and the couple eventually married in 1938. He was 24 and she was 22.
“We stayed in Gresham for awhile and then moved to the back end of a bungalow in Oak Forest,” Milton said. “I was an electrician and Mary was a beauty operator and she owned her own shop.”
The couple had three boys, Richard, David, and Donald. They also have eight grandchildren. Richard, their son, has been deceased since last year, when he succumbed to cancer, according to the couple.
“I retired in 1969, and we left Chicago,” Milton said. “We came to visit my sister in Texas about five years earlier, and I'll never forget it as long as I live. It was raining and storming real hard in Texas, and as we neared Hope, it cleared off and got beautiful. We stopped in Hope and looked around and contacted a realtor.
“He showed us around Hope and then he showed us a piece of property with a double-wide trailer home and 14 acres that was for sale. It was in the town of Patmos and we fell in love with the area. So, we liked it and we bought it.
“We didn't move down here until five years later, when we retired,” he said. “When we moved down here in 1969, I became mayor of Patmos and I stayed in that position until 1976. I helped start the Patmos Volunteer Fire Department when I was mayor and it's still going strong today.”
“The place in Patmos was nice and peaceful,” Mary said. “It was also nice to have our own place. It was a far cry from Chicago and that was nice, too.”
Page 2 of 2 - When asked if there were any secrets to being married that long, both of them replied almost immediately.
“We've always gotten along and we never separated, which was a good thing,” Mary said. “I give in to him all the time, but he returns the favor, too. Behave yourself and try to get along.”
“Everybody has their good times and their bad times, but we've had more good times than bad,” Milton said.
If they had to do it all over again, would they?
“Oh, yes, I don't know if I could live with anyone else as long as I have Milton,” Mary said, with a smile. “We've had our ups and downs, but you just have to stick with it. It's worth it.”
“Yes, I would,” Milton said. “We were friends and good buddies when we first met, and we've stayed that way all these years. It sure doesn't seem like it's been 75 years, it just seems like it's yesterday.”