It may not be a world record, but Ode and Bea Ward of Caraway are gaining on the "longest married" record holders list.
Their children and spouses are James and Barbara Ward of Cordova, Tenn., Vondella and Leon Davis of Caraway, and Lois and Larry Meadows of Tonganoxie, Kan.
The couple was married at 5 p.m. Sept. 20, 1930, in Leachville.
Mrs. Ward shared her memory of their wedding day when they, with another couple, drove to Leachville to the preacher's house to get married.
"The preacher, Lonnie Vaught, was working on his car and he was covered in grease," she said. "He stopped working on the car, wiped off his hands and we all went inside and we were married. After the wedding the three of us got in the car and Ode had to crank the car to start it. He had left the car in gear and when it started it took off and almost ran over him. I will always remember how scared I was. I think the house where we were married is still standing in Leachville."
Mrs. Ward is 98 and Mr. Ward is 96 and they have seen a lot of changes and can share history facts from experience that the younger generation can only read about.
"We married in 1930," Mrs. Ward said. "It probably was the hardest year anyone had to face. We didn't have a dollar but neither did anyone else. We didn't worry about it, we worked side by side. Work just came natural to both of us. My mother gave me good advice saying, if you have a roof over your head and clothes on your back, you can make it. She was right. We have had a good, happy life. It has been a great life."
The Wards said they have been "pretty" healthy all of their lives and the 78 years passed fast.
"Really, I feel as good as ever," Mrs. Ward said. "I can't get around quite as good because I have lost some of my balance, but I'd rather lose my balance than my mind."
The Wards still live in their home in Caraway where they have lived since 1978 when they moved from the country.
Guests at the reception had the opportunity to view a display of photographs of the Ward family spanning their 78 years of marriage.
Family has always been the most important thing to them and they still love family gatherings.
"We have a wonderful family and they make life special," Mrs. Ward said. "I wouldn't change a thing."