Health

Until the day after forever

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Couple shares secrets of 67 yearlong marriage for Gwinnett residents Josephine and Walton Simmons, the secret to a happy marriage is love – and doing exactly what your wife tells you to.

And if anyone knows the secret to a long marriage, it”s the Simmons. The Georgia couple, now residing at Delmar Gardens in Lawrenceville, has been married since 1940.

"I just do everything she tells me to," Walton says. "That”s our secret." Josephine chimes in, "That and the fact that we love each other, that”s how you stay married so long." Walton nods his head in agreement.

Their son, Bill, doesn”t know if it”s 100 percent true that his dad has always done exactly what his mom told him to, but he did recall a time when his father brought home a ski boat for the family. "My mother said, “Well, you”ve done it now.”" They named the boat, "Dunnit."

The couple met in church. Their first date was an airplane ride at Candler Field, Atlanta”s first airport.  Walton proposed to his bride on her mother”s front porch. He only got out, "Will you…" before Josephine finished the question and answered, startling him before he could even finish asking her.

Life was not always easy for the Simmons” Josephine miscarried three girls before her first son was finally born. 

"My parents never looked back, asked why or dwelled on sorrow," says Bill Simmons. Josephine and Walton have always been the type of people who focus on what they have, not what they don”t.  The couple has three sons, six grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

They have been active in various Methodist churches in Georgia, and always had a soft spot for caring for children. "There are a lot of people that considered my parents, their parents," says Bill. "They just love all kids."

When the couple first moved to Delmar Gardens, Josephine moved into the nursing home and Walton into the assisted living. Everyday he would walk down the long halls to go visit his wife.

After a time, dementia started to settle in on Walton, and he would forget he already visited his wife that day. "Some days he would go visit her four or six times a day. His health was also failing, and we were afraid he might fall on one of his many visits," Bill says. Today, the couple once again lives together at the nursing home at Delmar Gardens.

And even though they are getting older, they still look after each other. "Walter fix your sweater," Josephine sweetly reminds. "It”s not the right way."