Mount Carmel mayor helps couple mark 75th anniversary

Jeff Bobo • Mar 10, 2009 at 12:00 AM

MOUNT CARMEL — According to Juanita Catron the secret to a long successful marriage is 50/50 decision making, loving him, going to church and reading the Bible.

Catron could be considered an expert on the subject.

Last month Juanita, 90, and husband Frank Catron, 95, celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary.

Monday afternoon, Mount Carmel Mayor Gary Lawson visited the Catrons at their home on Bay Street to present them with a certificate honoring their marriage of three-quarters of a century.

The couple met while attending Vermont United Methodist Church in Bloomingdale. It wasn’t exactly love at first sight, at least for Juanita.

She said Frank would come courting almost every evening after he got off work at Borden Mills, and his persistence paid off.

CLICK THE BOX BELOW for a video interview with the couple.

They were married in Gate City on Feb. 17, 1934, raised three children, and lived in the same house for 42 years in the Bloomingdale community before moving to Mount Carmel. They only moved that one time in 75 years of marriage.

Frank and Juanita owned and operated an auto body shop in Bloomingdale, the same shop that their son, Jim, currently runs.

Their family had a party on Feb. 15 celebrating the Catrons’ anniversary.

Lawson was a neighbor of the Catrons growing up in Bloomingdale and attended the same church. He said the town wanted to honor their long marriage as a model and example for all married couples to follow.

The certificate states, “This loving couple, Frank Catron and Juanita Catron, celebrates 75 wondrous years of marriage on this day, Feb. 17, 2009, and rejoice and reaffirm their vow of true love and everlasting commitment to each other.”

Lawson asked the Catrons if they are ready to go 75 more years.

“If we make it one more, we’ll be lucky,” Juanita joked.

Juanita said there’s really no secret to their longevity. He sits on one couch, and she sits on the other couch, she said. Too bad it wasn’t their 80th wedding anniversary, for which the traditional anniversary gift is oak. The Catrons took advantage of a visit from the mayor to ask for his help in getting a dead tree cut down in their front yard.

Lawson said he’d see what he could do about getting their tree removed.

After 80th, the next big milestone will be the 100th anniversary, and Frank said he’s looking forward to celebrating that as well.

“If we’re not celebrating it here, we’ll have it somewhere good,” he said.

Mount Carmel Mayor Gary Lawson, center, presents Frank and Juanita Catron with a certificate Monday acknowledging and honoring their 75th wedding anniversary, which they celebrated on Feb. 17

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