Donners to celebrates 46 years

Wednesday, September 18, 2002
Johnny and Reba Donner of Leachville unwrapped a piece of their wedding cake that has been frozen for 46 years. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Johnny and Reba Donner of Leachville celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary on Sept. 15.

They may be the only couple that actually still has a piece of their wedding cake after 46 years.

Donner and the former Reba Johnson were married on Sept. 15, 1956, at Black Oak Assembly of God Church.

The piece of wedding cake turned up in 1994 after Mrs. Donner's mother, Gertie Johnson, passed away.

Mrs. Donner found the tightly wrapped cake in her mother's freezer. She was not only surprised to find it, she was surprised it was still in such good shape. The cake was transferred from Mrs. Johnson's freezer to the Donners' freezer. It was taken out briefly during their anniversary and put back. Mrs. Donner said they would get it out again at their 50th anniversary.

The cake is still on the George and Martha Washington saucer that it was placed on 46 years ago. At one time Mrs. Donner's mother had a complete set of the dishes that she remembers from her childhood. The saucer is truly a keepsake.

The Donners have two children, a son, Dana, of Leachville, and a daughter, Debbie Cravens, of Jonesboro. They have two grandsons, Michael Donner, 12, and John Turner, 15.

They have a dog, Ozie, who has a story all his own. Ozie is a large _ that the Donners adopted. Mrs. Donner saw a picture of Ozie on the Internet. He was found lost on the streets of Houston, Texas, and was in foster care. She contacted the ones caring for Ozie and through a long process, he came to live in Leachville. There was a lot of paperwork but Ozie was sent from Houston to Jackson, Miss., to Paragould and finally arrived in Leachville. Today he is very content at his new home and will do tricks for an oatmeal cookie.

Mrs. Donner is the secretary at Buffalo Island Central High School. She has worked in the school system since 1968. Mr. Donner retired in 1987 from Littrell Ford in Blytheville.

Mr. Donner's career as a car salesman is what actually brought the two of them together. Her parents took her to buy a car when she was getting ready to go to college. When she came back to have her car serviced, they met again and about 30 days later they were married.

They have lived in their home on Thurman Street since 1968.

"We've had a good marriage and a good life," Mr. Donner said. "We have had a trying year, but we have come through it and we are looking forward to the next 46 years."

Mr. Donner had surgery earlier in the year and is undergoing chemotherapy as a precautionary treatment. He has been very fortunate that the chemotherapy has not made him sick or even slowed him down, he said.

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