In going through a 1979 Tulsa World Sunday Newspaper I found the following article.
AREA COUPLE CELEBRATES 70 YEARS OF MARRIAGE.
They won't be at the Tulsa State Fair this year.Her health will no longer permit it.
But if they were, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Durham would stand a good chance of winning the award for the longest-married couple.On Sept. 23, the Durhams expect to observe their 70th wedding anniversary.
Durham is 91 and his wife six years younger.They were married in Ozark County, Missouri, site of the Gainesville, Mo., one-room school house where Durham was the teacher and Mrs. Durham, then Faye Standage of Mountain Home, Ark., one of his pupils.
She first attracted his attention when she sulked because, although she hadn't missed a word in a spelling bee, Durham, who was displeased with the overall performance, made the entire student body "stand on the floor" until they had learned their lessons.
After their marriage, Mrs. Durham "didn't have to go to school any more," but Durham continued to teach until the couple moved to Oklahoma in 1917.They lived in Bixby, where Durham drove a Tulsa World mail circulation route from 1928-36.
EARLIER, DESPITE AN amputated leg, he had been in construction work.While Durham was on that job, his boss liked to bet with unsuspecting takers that Durham could run up a ladder as fast as the physically-able boss could.The boss always won the bet.
After "retiring" from the World route, Durham bought a grocery store and service station three miles west of Bixby until 1944.Subsequently, Durham operated similar establishments at Afton and at 2020 N. Lewis Place.
On July 11, 1948, he opened a grocery store next to the Durham's new home at 1244 N. Toledo Ave. The two structures were the only completed ones "for blocks around."
"But there were foundations, so we knew more houses would be built and business would come to us."
Durham's prediction was correct, and he continued to operate the store until he retired for the last time in 1952.Ninety percent of his business was credit, but Durham notes he lost only $40 in the four years.
MR. AND MRS. DURHAM are proud of the fact their four children are as honest as those customers, "and all of them liked to work."
"We didn't have a lot to give our children, but we loved them a lot, and paddled them when we had to, and they love us."
The children are daughters, Euna Couts of Tulsa and Waltha Storement of Grove, and sons, Elbert Durham, retired from Shell Oil Co., and Zencil Durham, retired from U.S. Engineers, both living in Huntsville, Ark.
Until less that three years ago, the Durhams continued to live at 1244 N. Toledo, where he had a garden and she canned and froze much of the food they ate during the winter.At 87, despite his handicap, Durham was still safely driving a 25-year-old car.
ON THEIR67th anniversary, the couple was adjudged the longest married couple at the Tulsa State Fair's Golden Age Couple's Day.The Durhams were Modest about the honor, but admittedly delighted with the unusual wedding rings, crafted of Black Hills gold, they were given.Mrs. Durham didn't have a ring when they were married, and Durham had never worn a wedding ring until they received the prize.
Then her health failed, and physicians recommended she enter a nursing home.Grand Lake Manor Nursing Home at Grove was selected.When Mrs. Durham moved in, the nursing home got two residents.Durham insisted on going with his wife.
Last year, when the couple observed their 69th wedding anniversary, their daughters were on hand and the nursing home staff went all out to make it a joyous occasion, erecting a huge sign and baking a "wedding cake."
The Durham's children will be there for the 70th, but nursing home staffers haven't desclosed what they intend to do for an encore.
(Page 2 Section H)
Written by Beth Macklin of the World Staff Sept. 16,1979