110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
They make 70 years look easy
posted Jan 9, 2013 - 6:12:03am
Seventy years of marriage is quite a feat, especially in this day and age. But one DeLand couple, the Rev. Al and Betty Goddard, sure do make it look easy.
"We've had a fantastic life," the Rev. Goddard said.
The couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary with a root-beer-float party Dec. 19 at Woodland Towers. Activities Director Mindy Rosario organized the event, which was crowded with more than 100 guests.
"We met in a small town called Clinton, Iowa, in 1941. The place to go for a date was the root-beer stand, and that's where we went on our first date," Mrs. Goddard said.
The young couple fell in love quickly and decided to elope in December of 1942. Mr. Goddard was already signed up in the Navy. They took a train to Kahoka, Mo., where they were married in a courthouse ceremony.
"There was a war on. We had to do things our way," the Rev. Goddard said.
And they have been doing things their way ever since.
They have lived in several states, and the Rev. Goddard was an active minister for 55 years. They have a daughter, Stana Young of DeBary; a son, Thomas, passed away at age 39.
Thomas was born ill and with mental disabilities. The young parents became advocates for mental-health care and education. The Rev. Goddard even worked alongside Bobby Kennedy to ensure SSI benefits for mentally disabled people.
The couple also have a grandson, Tod Smith (whose wife is Dawn), and a great-granddaughter, Aerial.
"We had a lot of adventures," the Rev. Goddard said.
The couple enjoyed their anniversary celebration, especially the special gift of a performance by a friend's band, Bailey's Best.
"Mindy [Rosario] did a wonderful job arranging the party," the Rev. Goddard said.
Next, the couple will celebrate another milestone, their birthdays. Both were born Feb. 8. The Rev. Goddard joked that part of the reason he married Mrs. Goddard was that he would never forget her birthday.
The Goddards agreed there is no real secret to their lasting marriage.
"We love each other, and we made a vow that we were going to keep," Mrs. Goddard said.
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