TEMPLE, Texas — The secret to 72 years of marriage is there is no secret, Roy Lee Maxwell said.
“I never thought about it being a secret that we were married 20 years or 30 years," Maxwell said, "It was just a wonderful thing.”
On March 14, Lee will celebrate more than seven decades of wedded bliss with his wife, Jeanne Maxwell.
The couple, who recently required more assistance in their day-to-day-living, reside in Regency Manor Healthcare Center in Temple.
Caregivers there said 72 years of marriage is too special of a milestone to go without celebration, so the facility threw the couple an anniversary party on March 8.
The Maxwell's courtship started after Roy Lee Maxwell’s sister, Claudine, introduced the two when they were in high school. Jeanne Maxwell, who was Hattie Jeanne Stinson then, and Claudine had been long-time friends, Roy Lee and Jeanne's son Bill Maxwell said.
“Claudine, with her designs on being a matchmaker for Jeanne, thought the timing might be good for them to meet and see what developed,” Bill Maxwell said.
The two saw one another only a few times before they were separated when Roy Lee enlisted in the Navy in 1943. He served in Guam during World War II and was honorably discharged in February 1946.
After a long separation and a short courtship, Roy Lee and Jeanne were married in 1947 and have been inseparable since, Bill Maxwell said.
“They always seem to be very much in love,” he said.
Bill Maxwell said his father always joked that he was the one to rescue his mother from "the local cowboys who were lined up trying to carry her off to the sand dunes of West Texas."
“I guess Jeanne realized that he was the only one for her,” Bill Maxwell said.
Bill Maxwell said his father’s devotion and care for his mother and their disabled son, Lucky, who is also living at Regency Manor Healthcare Center has “been a labor of love for 72 years.”
When asked how he and his wife made it through the rough patches, Roy Lee Maxwell said, "We never realized that we had any hard times.” He said life was pretty good.
It wasn’t until recently when Roy Lee Maxwell entered the living center that things changed a bit, his son said.
“He's never wavered from the task and until a few months ago. He woke up and did it every day and called it a joy and a privilege,” Bill Maxwell said. “He had a way of turning every negative into a positive. He wouldn't have traded his life for anyone else's, not even for a minute."
Roy Lee Maxwell said he and his bride haven't had many disagreements over the years. He said they rely on the Lord.
"We sang in the choir for 20-something years," Roy Lee Maxwell said.
He said laughter is an important part of their relationship.
Texas Today anchors Heidi Alagha and Chris Rogers will participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer's on Sept. 7 in Belton. To be a part of their team, follow this link.
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