When MacDonald and Eunice Tucker vowed to cherish each other until death do us part, they meant it.
Nearly 65 years have passed since they married, on May 28, 1953.
“Divorce has never even been thought of with us,” said Mrs Tucker, 90.
Although they recognise theirs is a great love, they don’t have anything special planned for today.
“We think every day should have the spirit of Valentine’s Day,” said Mr Tucker. “A tour of Israel in 2006 was probably the most romantic thing we’ve done together. It wasn’t for an anniversary or anything like that, but we recognised that we were getting older and needed to spend more special time together.”
They met in 1950 when Mrs Tucker was teaching Sunday School at North Shore Gospel Chapel in Pembroke. She was 23, he was five years younger.
“I think the first time we met was at a prayer meeting,” said Mrs Tucker.
She liked his sincerity; he admired her humility and her dedication to God.
“And she was attractive,” Mr Tucker said. “I really think she was the answer to my prayers.”
They both lived in Pembroke. She was on Mount Hill; he was at Government Gate on the North Shore.
“We used to spend a lot of time walking,” said Mr Tucker. “I used to walk her home after Bible study or after church parties on the beach.”
Added his wife: “I had to be home by 11pm. I couldn’t come home after midnight.”
They’d both had challenging times in childhood. Mrs Tucker was one of seven children. She was 10 when her mother, Mary Burgess, died.
“It was difficult,” she said. “My father, Edward Burgess, was determined to keep us together.”
Mr Tucker also came from a big family.
“My mother, Julia Tucker, had ten children but they didn’t all live,” said Mr Tucker. “I was the second. My mother was a housekeeper and my stepfather, Samuel Tucker, was a plumber’s helper for government.
“We struggled a bit. Those days were different from now. We had to fight our way and do certain things but the Lord brought us through.” At 13 he left school and sold newspapers to help support his family. At 16 he went to live with a foster family.
“They adopted me,” he said. “So I have more siblings from there. They gave me a leg up in life.”
He went into masonry work. and started building his own house in Smith’s at 18. The couple live there to this day.
“We lived at Government Gate when we were first married,” he said. “Then in 1955 we moved to our present house.
“The house wasn’t absolutely complete, but we moved into a section to save on rent. It was difficult going in those days. Finances were tight.” Mrs Tucker worked as a secretary for The Bermudian magazine. The offices were then located on East Broadway.
“I did secretarial work, typing and filing,” she said. “You had to be very careful that everything was in alphabetical order.
“I was under pressure quite a bit because the manager was very particular. I worked for them for a few years. I enjoyed being there and riding my bike.”
She left her job to raise the couple’s four children Edward, Gary, Lemuel and Doreen.
For their entire marriage their passion has been teaching the Bible to children.
Over the years they taught Sunday School to hundreds of youngsters in Pembroke, Smith’s and St George’s. In 1969, they started Camp Hope, a Bible study summer camp that still runs today.
“Many children have been blessed by that,” said Mr Tucker. “Their objectives in life were changed and a lot became very successful later in life.
“I am most proud that God used me to help children to know the Lord.”
Today Mrs Tucker has retired from volunteer work, but Mr Tucker still works with children. He helps with an after-school Bible study programme at West Pembroke Primary and several other schools.
After all these years the couple say they’re still learning new things about each other.
“People change,” said Mr Tucker. “She is not the same as she was when we got married and I’m not the same, but you have to weather the storms and try to understand each others’ needs.”
Added his wife: “It is continual learning. I think that is the way life is.”
They admit that they do have their disagreements.
“We are human,” Mrs Tucker said. “Things will get a little topsy-turvy and it’s sometimes difficult to figure out how are we going to work this out. My view is not always his.”
The couple have three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.