PARIS, Texas (KXII/Gray News) - The longest-married couple in Texas was recognized by Governor Greg Abbott last week after they celebrated their 82nd wedding anniversary.
This was not the first time the Paris couple had been recognized.
They were first awarded the title of 'Longest Married Couple in Texas' back in 2018.
The couple celebrated its 82nd wedding anniversary on Oct. 17. The duo is also the third longest-married couple in the United States.
Born in Ada, the now 100-year-old Johnnie Leroy Chaffin worked the majority of his life as a cement mason, as well as singing and playing guitar with his family band.
Fannie Chaffin, of Ashdown, Ark., is now 97, and worked lots of odd jobs, like waitressing at El Fenix, selling Avon Cosmetics and working as a nurse’s aid.
“Well, there weren’t many men around to marry,” said Mrs. Chaffin.
She also was a mother to their six children.
“I said, ‘Momma, my kids are getting old.’ And she said, 'Well, look at mine,” said Linda Reavis, one of the couple’s children.
Reavis said her parents used to play together when they were little, and met again in their teens. She said they lived in different counties but saw each other when they could.
They eventually got married in 1937. Mrs. Chaffin was just 15, and Mr. Chaffin was 17.
“Being the age they are, that’s a century. They’ve been through so much in 100 years and that’s what amazes me,” said Reavis.
The couple went through hard times like living through the Great Depression and sickness, to happy times, like more than 200 grandchildren, spanning more than six generations.
Their secret to a long-lasting marriage?
“Love is all I know. Love is one of the greatest things in the world if it’s done right. And that’s the way it is,” Mr. Chaffin explained.
“I did love you. So much, that’s why we had a house full of kids,” said Mrs. Chaffin concluded.