“It took 10 days,” said Ursula, who was returning to her home in Switzerland while Jack came to France to work as a displaced resettlement officer with the Church World Service. “My [future] husband followed me all through Paris. I [originally] thought I would never see him again because I only knew his name, Jack. … We [later] exchanged correspondence.”
The Etheridges were married three years later and celebrated their 61st anniversary in 2012. In honor of Valentine’s Day, the Neighbor interviewed three local couples who have been married for 50 years or more.
Rutherford and Daisy Ellis, of Buckhead, have been married 56 years and dated for two.
“We met ice skating in Atlanta at Lakewood Park [in 1955],” Daisy said of the area where Aaron’s Amphitheatre now sits. “It was the first ice skating rink in Atlanta.”
Buckhead residents Julian and Joanne LeCraw met at a dance at Georgia Tech in 1950. They have been married 60 years.
The couples said the secrets to their successes include faith in God, common interests and patience.
“I guess it’s going to church and reading the Bible,” said Joanne, who also spoke for Julian since he was sick and unavailable for an interview. “It’s the Lord. That’s the key.”
The LeCraws have three children and nine grandchildren.
“Both of us are very strong-willed people, but we are very blessed to have this wonderful marriage for all these years,” Joanne said.
The Ellises have two children and two grandchildren.
Daisy said, “They say opposites attract. We have different personalities but we like a lot of the same things, too. We’re complimentary. The main reason, too, is our Christian faith. We attend North Avenue Presbyterian Church in Midtown. We got married there and our two daughters got married there and baptized there.”
Rutherford added, “I think the main thing is we’re complimentary. She’s real good at things I’m not good at and I’m the other way around. The two of us get together and we’re a pretty good team.”
The Etheridges have three children and seven grandchildren.
“I just marred a fellow who had so many interests,” Ursula said. “We’ve had such an exciting life with his career and all, good health and lots of love.”
Jack added, “My key is I have such a wonderful wife who’s a great mother and grandmother and housekeeper. She’s great at everything she does. Also, we’ve enjoyed good health and a good rich life together and we’ve enjoyed our children.”
Each couple offered tips on a strong marriage.
“They better get in the Bible and pray to the Lord,” Joanne said. “That will make you have a strong marriage. It really will.”
Daisy added, “It takes a lot of patience and understanding.”
Rutherford said, “You need to do some things together, and we’ve done a lot over the years. We’ve traveled together. Of course, we each have our own interests. Sometimes I go in one direction and she goes in another, [but] we come back to each other. You’ve got to do favors. You’ve got to think of what you can do nice for your partner and always be helpful.”
Jack, a retired judge and lawyer, added, “Obviously everyone has different views. I think in my career as a judge and hearing a lot of domestic cases and divorces, one [tip] would be to share as much with each other as possible.”