Toni Tatro, events coordinator at Courtyard Estates, said she wanted to surprise both couples with dinner on a date in between each couple’s anniversary. The Way’s were married June 15, 1945, and will celebrate their 66th anniversary next week. The Woodall’s were married on May 30, 1948, and celebrated their 63rd anniversary.
“I’ve been planning this since the beginning of May,” Tatro said. “It’s the longest I’ve kept a secret.”
Woody said he didn’t see the dinner coming.
“It’s a wonderful surprise from the staff,” Woody said.
They said they didn’t want to make a big deal of their anniversary.
“We told our children that we didn’t want anything,” Mary said.
The couples were seated in the lobby of the main building at Courtyard, away from the dining room. The lights were dimmed and a purple flameless candle was placed on the table. Each woman received a flower. The four were serenaded by Janet Gaskill on guitar. Menu items included steak, potatoes, roll, scallops and a lobster tail. Woody and Earl each had a beer, while Dot had wine and Mary had water. Each got a small cake for dessert.
The couples have been friends for a number of years. Woody and Dot have been in Monmouth since 1955, while Mary and Earl have been here longer. The four are retired.
Earl and Mary are retired farmers while Woody and Dot are retired high school teachers. Woody and Earl both served in World War II, and married their wives upon returning from war.
“Woody and I went together for six years,” Dot said.
Widener said that Courtyard Estates started celebrating anniversaries for the couples residing there at the beginning of 2011. They currently have four couples, with two more expected to move in.
“It is nice to do something special for them,” Widener said.