Saturday, January 29, 1966, was a frigid day in Austin, Texas. Temperatures were in the teens that night. Late the night before, after our rehearsal and dinner in Austin, I had returned to College Station to take my last grad school final on Saturday, which was also my 23rd birthday.
Terry and I were married at St. Paul Lutheran Church at 5:00 p.m. that day. Her childhood pastor, Rev. Albert Jesse, based his homily on the miracle of Jesus changing water into wine at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It was titled “They Invited Jesus to the Wedding.”
At the reception at the Villa Capri Hotel, I was so excited I failed to see the groom’s cake, a fine southern tradition. After the reception we drove in my two door baby blue ’65 Chevy Malibu 60 miles north to Salado, spending our two-night honeymoon at the Stagecoach Inn. The Honeymoon Suite was $20 per night, a significant expenditure 50 years ago, especially on a salary of $200 per month.
Lots of water has gone under the bridge since then. During our 50 years together, Terry has been at my side providing love, patience, support and partnership. Our ministry has included:
- Three years at Concordia Theological Seminary in Springfield, Ill.
- One year of pastoral internship at Ascension Lutheran Church in Charlotte, N. Car.
- Three years of pastoral ministry at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Biloxi, Miss.
- Eight years of pastoral ministry at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Beaumont, Tex.
- Five years of mission development at Faith Lutheran Church in Georgetown, Tex.
- Five years of planned giving with Lutheran Foundation of Texas in Austin, Tex.
- Ten years as president of the Texas District of the LCMS in Austin, Tex.
- Nine years as president of the national Lutheran Church in St. Louis, Missouri
- Five years as Presidential Ambassador at Concordia University Texas in Austin
- One month back at Lutheran Foundation of Texas as Inheritance Legacy Consultant.
In each of these places of ministry, Terry’s unique gifts of hospitality and encouragement have provided support, comfort, hope and joy for wives of countless pastors, ecclesiastical supervisors and other regional, national and international church leaders. Non-catered seated dinners with scores of guests in our homes in Georgetown, Round Rock and St. Louis were not uncommon.
In addition, beginning with our mission development days in Georgetown, Terry helped support our family by going back to work. She spent several years at a women’s clothing store in Georgetown, followed by 17 years of six days a week employment in the wholesale fine jewelry business.
Both of us have been blessed with loving parents and grandparents, only one of whom is still living – my 99 ¾ year old mother Elda of New Braunfels, Tex. We have also been blessed with our daughter Angie, her husband Todd (Terry calls him our son-in-love), their children (our grandchildren) Kolby and Kayla, and our son Andrew.
We are very thankful for Terry’s brother, my three sisters, their spouses, children and grandchildren, our aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. We’re also wonderfully blessed with countless friends and colleagues from across the nation and around the world, including many of you.
When asked what I believe are the most important words in a successful marriage, I usually say “Yes, Dear!” Seriously, more important words are “I love you!” I’m sorry!” “I forgive you!”
As most married couples will attest, marriage is a mixture of good days and bad, happy times and sad. While it’s incredible how much alike Terry and I often think, it’s equally incredible that each of us will still sometimes say or do things that cause the other to raise an eyebrow or shake a head in surprise, amazement or even frustration.
What’s the bottom line? I give thanks, honor and glory to God for half a century of joy and sorrow, blessing and difficulty, victory and defeat, under the umbrella of God’s grace, with Terry at my side. She has many gifts and unselfishly uses them joyfully and generously.
Fifty years ago the words each of us spoke to the other included: “I take you to be my wedded spouse, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, to honor and to cherish, till death parts us, according to God’s holy will.” By God’s grace, we said what we meant and meant what we said. To God be the glory!
Not knowing where to draw the invitation line for a special reception, our celebration included a brief trip to Savannah, one of Terry’s favorite cities, and a quiet evening enjoying dinner together.
Happy Anniversary, dearest Terry! I love you with all my heart and look forward to the future, believing that the best is yet to come!