Couples reach milestones
By By Lowell McGill
Brooks Memorial Baptist Church, located on McRae Street in Atmore, is honoring four couples this month who have been members of the congregation for a number of years.
Their recognition is unique as each of these couples has been married more than 60 years.
The couples are Claude and Thelma Bouler, Joel and Louise Day, Ollie and Allie Strength and Bill and Verna Bedsole
Married for 66 years, Ollie and Allie Strength were wed Feb. 6, 1942. Ollie, who is a veteran of WWII and the Alabama National Guard, retired from St. Regis Paper Company with 30 years of service. Allie worked for Vanity Fair where she retired after 34 years of service. They have one daughter, Jean, who looks in on them each day with many of their daily chores. Allie still enjoys working in her yard with her flowers and some light gardening. Ollie enjoys reading in his spare time.
Bill and Verna Bedsole were married Aug. 29, 1942. Retired from Vanity Fair, Bill served as a maintenance supervisor for 37 years and Verna was a line supervisor for 35 years. They spent time with the Monroeville, Butler and Jackson Vanity Fair plants prior to making Atmore their home. The couple has three children. A daughter, Connie, lives in Bermuda, Alabama and another daughter, Ginny, lives in Spanish Fort. A son, Austin, makes his home in Pensacola.
Bill has a lifetime hobby of wood working and Verna has always enjoyed sewing.
The couple will be celebrating 66 years of marriage this week.
Joel and Louise Day have been married since July 5, 1947, a total of 61 years. Louise worked for the City of Atmore for 32 years. Most of that time was spent as Atmore City Clerk. She said, before retiring in 1989, she worked for five mayors. They included H. H. Dees, Oris Davis (two terms), Patricia McKenzie, Tom Byrne and Howard Shell. Joel worked for Bateson Furniture for 45 years and later devoted some time as a self employed businessman.
They have three children, Sammy, Randy and Sybil. Their sons live near them. Randy is the athletic director at Northview High School and Randy is employed with Masland. Their daughter, Sybil, lives in Foley and is employed with a leading medical complex in that town. One of their grandchildren is nearing completion of medical school and will enter a medical related field.
Square Dancing was one of their favorite hobbies for many years. Joel, who previously enjoyed fishing, is still active working in an executive capacity with the American Legion and VFW. Louise stays busy working with her many flowers in their yard. They enjoy watching RFD’s Big Joe’s Polka TV program.
Claude and Thelma Bouler, married now for 60 years, became man and wife on April 14, 1948. Claude, a native of Baldwin County, retired from Alabama Power Company with 42 years of outstanding service. Thelma worked 36 years with Vanity Fair until her retirement in 1994. The couple has two children. Ronnie, who is an engineer with CNX, lives in Mobile. Their other son, Mike, who does building contract and portable sawmill work, lives in Atmore. In fact, Mike assisted Claude in completely building their home,
Thelma, who is 78 years of age, is still an avid gardener and preserves and cans vegetables and fruit from her garden. She says she tills her garden with a gas powered tiller. Claude’s lifelong hobby was creative wood working.
These couples are strong believers in Brooks Memorial Church. They attend most church services and live devoted Christian lives.
Rev, James Boyd, says “I am totally thrilled to serve as pastor to these outstanding Christian loving couples. They are not only an inspiration to me, but to the entire congregation, as well.”