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Couple celebrate 75 blissful years together
By BETSY BOLGER-PAULET
© St. Petersburg Times, published June 22, 2000
LARGO -- Under a canopy of pink and white balloons and silver streamers, Helen and David Tucker raised champagne glasses to celebrate 75 years of wedded bliss.
As Unforgettable played over loudspeakers, the Indiana couple, who were married at age 18, beamed while family and fellow residents of the Homestead in Largo toasted the occasion Tuesday.
Tucker said he met his future wife when he and "several buddies from Berne were riding around in an old Model-T Ford." It was in neighboring Linn Grove, Ind., that he "spotted the girl who was to become my bride."
"Linn Grove was a really little town," Mrs. Tucker recalled. "When I went out the back door, I was in the country, and when I went out the front door, I was across the street from the post office."
Her husband admitted that he and "the boys," all from Berne, Ind., were "just checking out the girls," and he chuckled when daughter Margaret Jennings said: "Dad was the meanest kid in town. That's what everybody in Berne says."
At the head table Tuesday, Mrs. Jennings and her sister, Harriet Ellet, shared a secret they have held all these years. Sitting with the happy couple and their own spouses, Bob Jennings and Roy Ellet, they confided:
"Well, Mom and Dad, now we think you've been together long enough that it's safe to tell," Jennings started the confession. "Harriet and I made a pact. It was when you two were fighting . . ." Ellet broke in to finish her sister's story, "I agreed that I would go with Dad and Margaret would go with you, Mom."
But the sisters never had to separate. The marriage remained solid for the couple who "slipped off to Michigan" right after graduation in 1925 and got married.
For many years Tucker worked making furniture at Dunbar Manufacturing Co. in Berne, Ind., while his wife took care of the home and their two daughters. In 1948, after Jennings married her soldier who had returned from the war, the Tuckers decided to leave Indiana for Florida.
Lovers of travel, the couple had often visited the Sunshine State. Explaining why they settled on the state's west coast, Tucker said, "We didn't like the mosquitoes on the other side."
They built a home in Bradenton where he founded Tucker & Thomas Upholstery Shop. He operated the business until 1970, and his wife often worked beside him. After the couple retired they traveled more, visiting California, Canada and Hawaii and taking several cruises.
The Tuckers remained in the Sarasota-Bradenton area, where the Jennings family still lived for around 10 more years, before moving to this area near the Ellets in St. Petersburg. Six months ago the couple moved to the Homestead.
They were also feted at a party earlier in the week attended by 45 family members, including many of their four grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great-grandchildren.
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