LAKEWOOD - Cheers, applauding and laughter filled the air at Emeritus in Lakewood during Pershing and Maxine Griffith's celebration of their 70th anniversary celebration.
On Thursday, the Griffiths, who are both 94, were joined by family and friends as they renewed their wedding vows. The Rev. Timothy Miller officiated.
After the ceremony in which Miller renewed the Griffiths' vows, the couple fed cake to each other, enjoyed piano by Lucy Miller, songs by Jill Scott, a display of photos from the couple's youth and a hall aptly decorated for the occasion.
The Griffiths feed each other cake during the celebration.
P-J photos by Dusten Rader
Pershing, who said that the celebration didn't feel much different than it did 70 years ago when the two stood side by side in front of a minister, stood to give a speech during the celebration. He said, "I would like to thank each and every one of you for showing your respect by attending our 70th wedding anniversary. I'm sorry I can't get around to shaking everyone's hand, but I sure do appreciate you being here."
It was a pleasant surprise for both Griffiths to be able to celebrate a 70th anniversary, especially since two weeks after they said 'I do' in 1943, Pershing enlisted in Marine Corps.
"We were married on Jan. 17, 70 years ago today, and on the first of February I headed for the South Pacific with the Marine Corps," said Griffith. "(Maxine) didn't even know whether or not she'd ever see me again. She said, 'I may be a widow before long,' and it's very possible that she could have been."
While Griffith was off at war, Mrs. Griffith worked in Decatur, Ill., making ammunition. Mrs. Griffith said that she could never have imagined that 70 years later they would still be together, but she is very happy that they are.
"We looked forward to this day," said Mrs. Griffith. "And, the ceremony was fabulous - this was really great."
When asked what advice he would give to other married couples, Griffith answered, "Oh, just remember that you're not always right, and to give in a little."
Mrs. Griffith added, "Just keep loving each other is all I know."
The Griffiths' daughter, Vicki Dolash, holds fond memories of growing up with her parents, who were diligent about spending time together as a family. She said that they would go on camping trips, and the neatest thing was that being at dinner table was always the time for family to be together.
"We would always sit and talk about our day," said Dolash. "Then after dinner my sister Sandy (Brown) and I would go off to do our homework while mom and dad did the dishes. And, that was their time to be alone together. We always did a lot of things together as a family, and it was a good growing up."
According to Theresa Perrin, life enrichment director for Emeritus, it was a privilege to be part of the Griffith's celebration.
"When the family came to me and said they were married 70 years I said, 'Oh my gosh, how many people make it to five, 10, 15, let alone 70 years,' that's unheard of," said Perrin. "Of all the bad in the world, it's nice to have something good. So, I asked Pershing and Maxine if they cared if we make a fuss over them, and they said they'd love it."
Rev. Miller also expressed how much of a privilege it was to be asked to not only attend, but to be a part of the ceremony.
"It really makes you think, and admire, their heart and their commitment as the years traveled by," said Rev. Miller. "It really was a tremendous privilege for me to be a part of a special day for them, and it was an honor to be here. These two are very much in love, and it's so special that they are both healthy enough to do this on the day of their 70th anniversary."