Winnsboro couple celebrates 75th wedding anniversary at 92 years old
WINNSBORO, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas couple is celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary -- a day not celebrated by many.
Tuesday marked a milestone for Lila and Claude Sparkman.
At 17 years old, they got married on July 26, 1947, in the Smyrna community a few miles from their current home in Winnsboro.
They met at a party, and he asked her if he could drive her home in his father’s school bus, which he leased to the Winnsboro school district. However, she turned him down because her father was picking her up.
Later, Claude came by one Saturday and asked if she wanted to go to a show, and she said yes. As they say, the rest is history.
“Reverend Jake Norris performed the ceremony, and it was very simple, and so we went to his house and we wanted it to be a surprise -- we did not want anybody to know,” Lila Sparkman says.
They eventually told her parents, who built them a house nearby to live in until they were a little older. They have lived in their current home for 53 years.
She says Claude often worked six days a week, early till late, and she pursued an education, eventually getting a doctorate degree after their kids were adults.
“That’s the key to a long marriage is [to] support each other, to do -- to be everything they can be, and to pursue their dreams and that’s exactly what we’ve done,” Sparkman says.
Lila says even though they were young when they got married, they knew their commitment to each other was for the long haul.
“We were raised believing and knowing that when you make a commitment, whether you’re 17 years old or you’re 70, you need to keep that commitment, and as far as I, I don’t -- hey, wake up, did you ever want to divorce me?” Lila asks.
“No,” Claude says, as they both chuckle.
“So, we never thought about anything like that. We just rode the rough spots and kept going.”
Eight years ago, Claude got a second chance at life when he recovered from a life-threatening illness.
“We’re still going strong and expect to have several more anniversaries,” Lila says.
At 92 years old, the Sparkmans now have three children, five grandchildren, five great grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren.
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