Raifords celebrate 70 years of marriage

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Beaury and Thelma Raiford on their wedding day on Aug. 31, 1941. The couple is celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary today. -- SUBMITTED

SEDLEY—Beaury and Thelma Raifords’ love affair has lasted 72 years.

Today, the Sedley couple will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary.

“I can honestly say we’re as much in love now as we were the day we got married,” Thelma said.

“She’s right,” said Beaury. “You know what I told her when I picked her up to get married? I said, ‘You look good enough to eat.’”

The couple met in 1939 and married on Aug. 31, 1941. They have three children, three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, three step-grandchildren and four step-great-grandchildren.

Thelma was 16 when she met Beaury.

“We were at a party when he came in,” the 88-year-old said. “I told my girlfriend I thought he was so cute.”

What she didn’t know was that Beaury, 93, told one of his buddies he would love to date Thelma.

“That’s how it all started,” she said. “Two years later, we were married in our preacher’s front yard in Nansemond County. We went to Natural Bridge and Luray Caverns on our honeymoon.”

“We all went to Black Creek Baptist Church, but our preacher lived in Nansemond County, so we drove up there to get married,” Thelma added.

The couple lived in Newport News, where Beaury worked at the Newport News Shipyard. In 1942, Beaury was drafted, so Thelma came back to Sedley to live with her parents.

When Beaury returned from the service, he started farming with Thelma’s father.

Farming has always been in Beaury’s blood, so to speak, said his wife. “I always said I’d never marry a farmer, but I did and I wouldn’t trade him for the world.”

Over the years, Beaury worked for a welding shop in Courtland while still farming, but a back injury stopped any hard labor for a while. Eventually, he bought a 109-acre farm on Vicksville Road. It adjoins the farm where Beaury grew up.

“We bought this farm in 1957 and my son, Ed, and I farmed it until I retired,” he said. “He takes care of everything now.”

Thelma didn’t work outside the home after her marriage, although she did work at Rose’s Department Store prior to getting married.

“We have a big family and they visit us often,” said Thelma. “Our son, Ed, and his wife, Irene, live on the farm and our daughters, Kay Meditz and husband, John, and Connie Carpenter and husband, Mack, live close enough to stop by any time.

“We have the big holiday dinners, birthdays and other celebrations here. We have enough room for everyone to spread out,” Thelma said.

The couple enjoys their time together.

“Although we each have things we like to do on our own — I like to sew and Beaury likes working in the yard — we are still so close that we almost know what the other is thinking,” Thelma said.

“We have had a very good life,” she continued. “God has been very good to us, to let us be together this long and we give Him the praise.”

A celebration of Beaury and Thelma’s wedding anniversary will be held at a later date.