(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
Ode Ward and Bea Woods of Caraway were married Sept. 20, 1930 in Leachville. They were honored with a reception on Sunday at the Cowboy Grill Restaurant in Caraway.
Craighead County Judge Dale Haas presented a citation from the U.S. Congress recognizing Ode and Bea Ward on their 75th wedding anniversary along with his personal well wishes to the couple.
"They are good friends, good neighbors and good people," Judge Haas said.
Larry Meadows, the Wards' son-in-law, welcomed everyone.
"I want to thank everyone for coming. Some have come a long way and we appreciate it," Meadows said. "I have been in the family for 43 years. We have met in wedding chapels, hospitals, and funeral homes. We have vacationed together in 20 states, we have spent over 40 Christmases at their house. We have shared the good times and the bad times. While I was in Vietnam, they took good care of my girls. When we call, they always want to know when we are coming home. Most important things to Bea and Ode are family and friends. The most important fact in my life is they are my mother-in-law and father-in-law."
The couple has three children, six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Their son, James Ward, and wife, Barbara, live in Cordova, Tenn.; their oldest daughter, Vondella Davis, and her husband, Leon, live in Caraway; and their youngest daughter, Lois Meadows, and her husband, Larry, live in Tonganoxie, Kan.
Out of state guests for the event came from Kansas, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, Missouri and Oklahoma.
Guests had the opportunity to view a large display of 75 years of photographs featuring the couple and their family.
"We have a wonderful family," Mrs. Ward said. "We love one another and we get along. That is important."
The Wards look forward to their family reunions on the Ward side and the Woods side.
They moved from the country to town (Caraway) in 1978. They both still enjoy gardening, working in their yard and caring for their home. They still enjoy traveling. Their granddaughter, Vicki Moore, has taken them on a trip once or twice a year for many years. They have a trip planned in the near future to revisit one of their favorite places, Tater Hill Farms near Heber Springs.
The Wards have seen a lot of changes in their adult lives. They have seen the economy go up and down, they have worked hard, lived through good crop years and bad crop years, and stood together.
Mrs. Ward said she feels very blessed. She did not have any secrets for their long, successful life together.
"There are no secrets, just be good to each other and go half and half with everything," Mrs. Ward said.
Mr. and Mrs. Ward received an unexpected surprise on Monday as Judge Haas delivered a U.S. flag from Congressman Marion Berry. The flag had flown over the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 7 in honor of the Wards' 75th anniversary.