George and Chris Giles, at left, and the Rev. Walter and Delores Buckner, at right, were the longest married couples at the annual African American Couples Celebrating 50 + Years luncheon on Oct. 20 at Raffel’s Catering in Evendale. Photos by Gary L. Lewis
By Dan Yount
The Cincinnati Herald
Twenty-three Cincinnati area couples married 50 years or more were recognized at a luncheon Saturday, Oct. 20, at the banquet center of Raffel’s Catering in Evendale.
The annual African American Couples Celebrating 50 + Years event was started four years ago after Shirley Johnson brought up the idea at a meeting of the officers of the Lockland Wayne Alumni Association, where her husband Robert Johnson presides. The committee said they would help her. The group includes Shirley and Bob Johnson, Mable Lewis, association secretary, Albert Seay, and Janice Battle, treasurer.
Donations came from Rudolph and Elaine Isley, Julie Johnson and Julia Wesselkamper who provided gift bags.
This year, the event was open to any couple that wanted to attend, but only couples married 50 years or more were honored. Eddie Love’s Big Band provided music ad Elder Scotty Johnson served as emcee.
“We are so happy we stepped out on faith with this event,’’ said Shirley Johnson. “We give thanks to God for allowing us to get to 50 years of marriage, and want to try to be an example for our younger people, too’’
People from Dayton and Columbus have contacted Johnson about hosting a similar event in those cities, she said.
The speaker was the Rev. Damon Lynch Jr., pastor of New Jerusalem Baptist Church and an alumnus of the Lockland Wayne High School. He and his wife, Barbara, have been married 62 years.
Lynch talked about his seven points of a healthy marriage backed up by biblical references, which he said he discusses with engaged couples and in his counseling of married couples.
Those points are faith (Amos 3:3), friendship (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10), frankness (Ephesians 4:15), fidelity (Genesis 2:24), forgiveness (Matthew 18:21), finances (Proverbs 31:21), and family.
“Marriage is a faith journey and a gift from God, ‘’’Lynch said. “It is never about the destination, for one of the partners will leave the other someday, but about the journey. So, enjoy the trip. In 50 years, younger couples, like these couples here, can look back and see how God has kept you and blessed you.’’
The event will be held again on Sweetest Day in October 2019.
The couples recognized were:
52 years: Rome and Mary Adkins, Willis and Nellie Ellison
53 years: Gary and Deloris Benjamin, Donald and Lucia Hudson
55 years: Elmer and Vashti Swan
56 years: Paul and Carol Davis, Robert and Brenda Hicks, William and Naomi Jackson, Ronald and Mabel Rousseau
57 years: Calvin and Carol Daniels, Richard and Carolyn Harris
58 years: Curtis and Janice Battle; Theodore and Marlene Grant
59 years: Damon and Barbara Lynch
60 years: Sonny and Ann Jones, Bob and Mabel Lewis
61 years: Otis and Hazel Davis, James and Alma Harris, Bob and Shirley Johnson
62 years: Julius and Hattie Stephens
63 years: Rudolph and Elaine Isley
65 years: Walter and Deloris Buckner, George and Chris Giles
A representative from SteveTV, owned by Steve Harvey, has expressed interest in the event, said members of the 50 + committee.
As a note, Lockland Wayne High School existed from 1938–1958. The 1952 Lockland-Wayne Panthers was the first all African American boys basketball team in the country to win a state championship on March 22, 1952, in the state capital, Columbus, Ohio, Lockland Wayne defeated Nelsonville, 56–46, in the Class B championship game.