(BEDFORD) – Couples celebrate their love for one another on this Valentine’s Day. Three local couples share their thoughts on true love.
Through their commitment to one another, they have endured the struggles of life, raising a family, and supporting one another in both good and difficult times.
Albert and Merilyn Eckert have been married 67 years.
Albert and Merilyn Eckert met in South Bend, Indiana while she was babysitting. Merilyn was 19, and Albert was 17.
” I fell in love almost instantly,” said Merilyn Eckert.
The Eckerts got married on January 24, 1953, and are celebrating more than 67 years of marriage together. The Eckerts have six children and adopted two others.
Their children are Craig, Scott, Bryan, Tammy Adam, Lana and Jo, and their two adopted children are Heidi and Joshua.
The Eckerts have lived in Petersburg, Alaska. They lived there until a bear ended up on their porch and then Merilyn was ready to move.
Times were not always easy throughout their marriage. Merilyn claiming she has more of a temper than Albert. There were times the water, and electricity got shut off and times when dinner was squirrel and chicken.
In addition, they faced layoffs while working at the GE Plant in Bloomington.
“I have always worked, even during layoffs to make sure the family was taken care of,” said Albert.
Albert never missed work sometimes having to walk in the rain, or snow when their vehicles were broken down to make sure the family was taken care of.
Merilyn worked mostly as a waitress throughout her working career.
“They are times you have to forgive and forget,” said Albert. “We put up with one another, and you find out what matters the most in life.”
Both are Jehovah’s Witnesses and credit the Bible for guiding their paths to stay committed to one another. Both are at the Westview Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Albert suffers from Parkinson’s Disease but both still show their love towards one another even with their health declining.
“He is my sweetheart and I love him more than the whole wide world,” Merilyn concluded.
Wendell and Wanda West will celebrate 64 years of marriage in June.
Wendell and Wanda West will be married 64 years in June. Wendell and Wanda met one another at the Pilgrim Holiness Church located at 24th and H streets in Bedford when they were teenagers.
They were married at the Pilgrim Holiness Church on June 23, 1956, by the late Rev. Kenneth Greeves.
They have three children which include Terry, Dennis, and Bradley, four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren with a sixth on the way.
The most difficult time came for them when their son Terry was killed by a drunk driver back in 1973.
“It felt like a part of us died, but we went on to forgive the man who killed our son. Without us knowing the Lord we would not have been able to endure this tragedy and we got through it with His help,” said Wendell West.
The West’s home near Owensbur caught fire near around 1959 or 1960. The family lost everything.
“We literally had to start all over. Our boy at the time was about two years of age,” Wendell said.
Wanda West also lost a sister in a car accident around 1978 in Taylorsville, Indiana.
” Our lives have been wonderful with the Lord’s help, and we are proud of our family,” said Wanda.
Wendell is retired from Otis Elevator in Bloomington and had to endure several layoffs throughout the years but has always managed to find work.
Wanda has always been a stay at home mother, making sure the children and the home were tended to.
The family also has a 120-acre farm in the Owensburg area, raising beef cattle that help Wendell pass the time.
They say their love for one another has endured the test of time and is still going strong.
Their advice to couples now – “Live for the Lord, and let Him guide your life.”
They attend the Free-Holiness Church in Cincinnati, Indiana.
David and Janet Tidd will celebrate 58 years of marriage in October.
David and Janet Tidd met at the Lawrence County Courthouse square when they were teenagers.
“Janet and her girlfriends were up on the square and a few of us guys came by stopped and talked to them,” David said.
The Tidd’s got married on October 7, 1961, at the Pilgrim Holiness Church in Bedford. They have two children Diana Summers and Teresa Brown, five grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
According to the Tidd’s they always have done everything as a family,
“We traveled together to places like California, Grand Canyon, Canada, and Mexico, but really enjoy going to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee,” Janet states she does not like to travel as much now, so their trips have now slowed down.
David retired from General Motors after 24 years of service and worked in other places like Lenoard’s Drive-In, Louden’s as produce manager and Wholesome Bakery.
Janet has worked at painting houses during layoffs, Wholesome Bakery, and General Motors as a cook.
The Tidd’s have faced financial issues throughout the years with three years of layoffs at General Motors.
“We all worked together to make sure the needs were met. We were able to keep the lights on, and the Lord has helped us all along the way,” said David.
“My sister Brenda Sears died in a car wreck in 1978 and this was a very difficult time in our life,” Janet noted. “All in all we had a good life, God is great, and we just want couples to know to turn your life over to the Lord and he will help you through life’s most difficult places.”
When statistics show that most marriages fail, there is still a group of people that not only fell in love with one another but their lasting love and their desire to be there for eachother still remains.