He was a sailor. She was a country girl. They still love each other 73 years later.
Fort Mill natives Jim and Becky Watford will celebrate their 73rd wedding anniversary Saturday. The couple lives in Fort Mill in a house Jim built in 1956. He is 95 and she is 91.
Their meeting was unplanned, Jim said.
Jim said he was home for a visit while serving in the Navy during World War II. He ran into his sister while in town. She was going to the movies with Becky.
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That’s when he saw Becky for the first time.
“I told her, I said ‘come here gal’ and I pulled her to me and I kissed her. I said ‘woo’ that was good I’ll get some more of that,’” Jim said. “I started liking her ever since. I said I’m going to marry that gal.”
The couple married on March 9, 1946.
Becky describes their time together as “a good 73 years.”
“He has been a perfect husband,” she said. “The Lord brought us together.”
The Watford’s are Christians who go to church every Sunday and bond in their dedication to the Lord, Becky said.
“We’ve done our best to please the Lord and to serve Him,” she said.
Watford said he has loved every minute of their time together.
“I met a lot of gals while I was in the Navy, but I didn’t like none of them like I did her,” he said. “She’s an old country gal.”
Jim said during his years in the Navy, he traveled to many places, including North Africa, Italy, England, Iceland and Scotland. In Russia, Jim said he remembers it being so cold that the sea was topped with a frozen sheet of ice 13 inches thick.
“I’ve been almost around the world,” he said.
While he lost friends in the war, Jim said he credits the Lord in bringing him home to create the family he has.
“The good Lord brought us through,” he said.
The Watfords both come from big families. He is the youngest and last living of 10 children and grew up with eight sisters and one brother. She has three sisters and a brother.
The Watfords have two daughters, 71-year-old Sally Hunter and Susan Wilson, 65.
They have three living grandchildren, one of whom still lives in Fort Mill, and a grandchild who died. They have six great-grandchildren and one great-great granddaughter.
Becky said Jim would often take Sally fishing when she was a child.
“I was a daddy’s girl,” Hunter said.
The Watfords and their children took many family trips to the beach over the years, Becky said.
“We’re just as close as we can be,” she said. “We love our son-in-laws just like they would be our sons.”
The couple both worked in Fort Mill textile mills and raised their family in Fort Mill.
The Watfords use hearing aids and Jim has dementia, but the couple still live by themselves in their own home, which Becky said her husband built just the way she wanted it.
“We count our blessings all the time,” she said. “We owe it all to the Lord.”