Perdues celebrates 74 years of marriage

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 17, 2000

Willie and Eunice Perdue have seen many good and bad times since their marriage began 74 years ago. Their home is full of mementos from their lives, with one of their most cherished being a certificate they received from Gov. Don Siegelman for their 74-year marriage.

Photo by Alicia Weldon

In today's world, not many couples can say that their marriage survived wars, the hardships of the Great Depression, atomic scares and riots all over the world. However, Willie and Eunice Perdue can.

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Willie, 93, and Eunice, 91, were married on June 13, 1926, in a Butler County church. For 74 years, they were there for each other through the good times and the bad times, but they never once doubted their love for each other. They celebrated this joyful occasion by having a quiet family gathering at a restaurant in Montgomery.

"People always tell each other all the things they would do differently about their lives," Willie said. "If I had a chance to do it different, I wouldn't. I'd do the same thing over again, even marry the same girl."

The Perdues have lived in their current home for 17 years, moving to Greenville from Brushey Creek. Mementos and pictures from their fulfilling lives are scattered throughout their home, ready for visitors to study the changing Perdue family.

Today, one of their prized possessions is a certificate from the Gov. Don Siegelman congratulating them on 74 wonderful years together.

The couple raised four children, three boys and one girl. Two sons died after serving their country, one fighting in World War II and the Korean conflict and the other serving in Korea. Their one son is still alive today, having served in the armed forces in Vietnam.

"I'm so happy that we helped our country to have its freedom by our sons fighting in the wars," Eunice said. "I know God has smiled down on us for that."

The Perdues also have a daughter of whom they are proud and who has given them two small grandchildren.

Twenty years ago, Willie's parents were killed by a drunk driver while on their way to church . Eunice said when the driver came to their door to beg forgiveness, clearly upset over what he had done, she prayed to have the strength to know what to do.

"I told that man to go home to his wife and three kids and love them as he should," she said. "I feel in my heart that he will be in Heaven one day if he does this."

Eunice said the one thing that has gotten her and her husband through so many rough times in life was their faith in the Lord.

"The reason we are living today is because we accepted Christ as our Savior," she said. "I've put the Lord first in my life, them my husband and family."

The Perdues have seen many changes occur throughout the years to Greenville, as well as to the world.

Willie said he remembers when people could go to bed with the doors unlocked or sleep on the front porch when it was too hot and there were no fans.

"It's sad that you can't do so many things we used to," he said, shaking his head sadly.

Willie worked for W. T. Smith Lumber Co. for many years, until it was bought out by Union Camp. He traveled all over the South doing business for the company until he retired at age 81. Eunice stayed at home with her ailing parents, looking after them until the end of their lives.

"It's good to see some of the changes in the technology of the world to help people have better lives," Willie said. "I remember at the lumber yard in Chapman when they used to use oxen to haul the logs to the mill. When the trains first came through, it had wooden rails instead of steel like they use today."

The Perdues would like to thank everyone who has sent them gifts and congratulations on their 74th wedding anniversary. Eunice said she prays the 75th year with her husband will be as happy as the 74th year.

"I love my husband and just want us to be happy," she said with a small smile.