Monette couples share 223 years of marriage
Four Monette couples have accumulated 223 years of marriage among them and have every reason to celebrate the month of October.
The couples include Jerry and Margarete Reed, Devane and Martha Baldridge, Tink and Millie Wimberley, and Gene and Norma Gathright.
"We all try to do something special during the month of October each year, which we call our anniversary month," Jerry Reed said. "Last year we went to Holcomb, Mo., to eat at Strawberries. We are trying to come up with a good idea for this year, health permitting.
"Sometimes it seems like we have one festive event after another, as we are so entwined in each other's lives," he said. "We have spent a lifetime together and our children all attended Monette High School. Between community events, school events and church events, our paths cross constantly.
"It never ceases to amaze me how grand it is to live in a small town, where everyone knows your name, your family, your parents, your sisters and brothers, and often the name of your pets. When there is something that needs doing, you just get on the phone and call up the troops and get it done. There are a lot of jobs that need doing in small towns. I don't know how we could all exist without volunteers and friends. It is the same way in local churches. People are called upon to wear many hats, they teach, sing in the choir, work on mission projects, and take care of needs when someone in the family is sick or has lost a loved one."
"I love small towns, especially living in Monette," Reed said. "We can find just about any reason to celebrate, like anniversaries, holidays, people home for a visit, school reunions, centennials, or just the first vegetables in someone's garden. I suppose life itself should be a reason to celebrate, and we have all been blessed to live this long."
The four couples have a variety of different stories to tell, about how it all began, and how far they have come together.
Jerry Reed married Margarete Siebenborn on Sept. 2, 1958, in Cologne, Germany, at the local registrar's office, according to German law. A Christian ceremony followed on Oct.4, 1958, at St. Cornelius Catholic Church in Cologne-Rath-Heumar and was performed by the pastor Dr. Leuken. They celebrate the Oct. 4 date as their anniversary.
They have two daughters, Angie Dunigan and Coral Sutterfield. They have five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Jerry is retired from Horizon Telephone Company and Margarete is retired from KBIB Radio Station and Douglass Cable Company.
Jerry Reed has had several careers. He was a grocery store bag boy in his youth, a soldier in the Air Force, a telephone man, a furniture restorer and now he serves as pastor of the First United Methodist Churches, in Monette and Lake City, where all four couples attend church.
Devane Baldridge and Martha Hout were married by Rev. Yount on Oct. 6, 1945 at the Methodist Parsonage in Black Oak.
They have three children, Mitchell Baldridge (deceased), Linda Matthews and Patricia Adams. They have seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
The Baldridges are retired employees of the Buffalo Island Central School District. Devane served as BIC Superintendent and Martha was an elementary teacher.
Sonny "Tink" Wimberley and Millie Ella Hout were married by Rev. James Flemming on Oct. 12, 1957, at the Methodist Church parsonage.
They have three children, twins Rick Wimberley and Diane DeAnciata, and son Kevin Wimberley. They have two grandchildren.
Tink has farmed all his life and Millie is retired from Entergy Electric.
Gene Gathright and Norma Sue Woodsmall were married by St. Claire Slayton on Oct. 8, 1949 at the Leachville Church of Christ parsonage.
They have four children, Karen Hook, Allen Gathright, Dennis Gathright and Larry Gathright. They have 11 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren (with one on the way).