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Couple celebrates 70 years of marriage


By Melissa Robinson
Contributing Editor  

  It was a day like any other August day in Georgia that James Brown and Ruby Sims said their vows taking each other as man and wife at her grandmother’s home in Locust Grove. And it was a day that the young couple in love took very seriously as evidenced by the fact that this past Sunday, they celebrated 70 years of marriage during a special church service held at Heritage Park in McDonough.

James and Ruby Brown look over old pictures from photo albums at their home in McDonough. The couple celebrated their 70th anniversary on Friday, Aug. 23.          Photo by Melissa Robinson

  Both born and raised in Henry County, it was August 23, 1943 when James was just 17 and Ruby was 19 that the pair tied the knot. Both had graduated from Henry County Training School, and Ruby had left the county for job training in Jessup. It was there that James kept in touch through letters.

  “I guess they were love letters,” laughed Ruby. “Because I ended up coming back.”

  For the Browns, part of the secret to a successful marriage has been their faith in God and each other. James said a big part of making their marriage work was that he took the vows seriously. He said all couples have issues and disagree from time to time, but knowing that he made a vow meant a great deal.

  Together the McDonough couple raised seven children, having lost three sons and a daughter over the years. They also have 13 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren who they enjoy spending time with, however they became “Mom and Dad” to many others over the years because of their kindness and generosity.

  Although they raised a big family, both James and Ruby worked outside the home to make sure their children had what they needed. James started out as a farmer and then went to the Army for close to a year. He spent a career with Atlanta Army Depot as a truck driver and heavy equipment operator, and upon retirement after 25 years, found a second career as an auto mechanic. Ruby started out working at Emory University then also worked at the Atlanta Army Depot, and upon leaving there, she worked in retail and as a nutritionist for Henry County Senior Services and in the cafeteria of Henry County High School before retiring from there at age eighty.

  “We always worked together, especially raising our children,” said Ruby, “to get them through school and off to college.”

  In fact, Ruby, who was raised Baptist, decided to join Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in McDonough where her husband had worshipped since he was a child, because she wanted the family to attend the same church and be united in their spirituality. A member since 1944, Ruby is still active in the church, and is often found greeting congregants on Sunday morning.

  Daughter Delores Thomas, the youngest of the couple’s seven children, said her parents have been an inspiration in many ways. She said they instilled in their children a strong work ethic and the importance of education.

 “They’re loving and kind and they are such giving parents. They both worked really hard. to make sure we had the best,” said Thomas. “They stressed the importance of education and always provided what we needed.”

  She said they also made sure their children put God first in their lives.

  “We always worshipped together and were active in the church. They instilled the love of God in us,” said Thomas.

  On Sunday, the couple, surrounded by family and friends, was honored during Wesley Chapel UMC’s homecoming celebration held at Heritage Park in McDonough. Mayor Billy Copeland presented the Browns with a proclamation from the city honoring them for their longevity and commitment to each other and the community.

  The proclamation read in part, “Recognition to Mr. and Mrs. James Brown on the occasion of their seventieth wedding anniversary, which deserves a special place in the history of our community. On behalf of the Council and our citizens, who are lucky to have such a fine example of "to have and to hold from this day forward" among us, I wish them many more years of health and happiness together.”



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