Couple celebrates nearly 70 years of marriage

By Curt Yeomans


Some couples choose to get married in a church, surrounded by all of their family members and friends.

Alice and Jesse Lyle, of Ellenwood, were not one of those couples.

They were married by a Justice of the Peace in Rex on April 22, 1939. The only witnesses were a married couple with whom the newlyweds were friends.

Given the simplicity and modesty of their wedding, where would they spend their honeymoon?

"Home," said Alice Lyle, 87.

"We were just ready for someone to tie the knot," added Jesse Lyle, 92.

This year, the couple will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. They said the longevity of their marriage makes up for the low profile of their wedding ceremony.

"Lots of people spend thousands of dollars to get married, and then they end up separating," Alice said. "But, we've stuck together."

As they talked about their marriage -- sitting in reclining chairs which were separated by a telephone table -- Alice and Jesse reached out to each other. Alice held onto Jesse's index finger, while they reminisced about days gone by.

The Lyles said they never had a fight in nearly 70 years of marriage. They said the lack of fights is what allowed their marriage to last through the decades.

"I sometimes said something I shouldn't have said, and she just didn't say anything," Jesse said.

"I just try to be calm," Alice said in response. "You're supposed to do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

"I know when to quit, though," Jesse said, as his wife finished talking.

Jesse and Alice met through their siblings. His brother, Ennis, was married to her sister, Mary. In 1938, Alice and Mary took a trip to a rock quarry in Stockbridge, where Ennis and Jesse worked. The sisters were taking lunch to Ennis, and then Alice and Jesse had their first encounter.

"It made me want to come back to work," Jesse said. "I thought to myself, 'Boy, she looks pretty good.'"

A little over a year later, they were husband and wife. They now have five children, nine grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.

Jesse said he still looks at his wife the same way he did on the day he met her.

"I think the same thing today," he said. "It's something new every morning."

Over the years, Jesse Lyle has given his wife three wedding rings. She said the first ring, given to her during the wedding ceremony, was yellow gold, but she can not recall where it is anymore. The second ring was silver with some small diamonds across the top. She now wears that ring on a necklace.

Alice received the third ring in the mid-1970's, after making an agreement with Jesse to lose weight if he would buy her a five-diamond ring. She began losing the weight, but he began to waiver.

"He said,'Aw, you don't have to do that,' and he bought me a new ring," she said.

As they recalled their years together, they remembered some of the things which have kept them committed to each other. Jesse said his wife "takes away all the worries." Alice said she enjoys his companionship, and "I love him."

So, does the husband and wife see themselves as soul mates?

"We wouldn't have been able to live together this long if we weren't meant to be together," Alice said.