Valentine’s Day lunch honors golden couples

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Harold and Avis Carpenter met two and one-half miles away from where they currently live in Oklahoma Lane. “We think we’ve been married a long time, too,” Avis Carpenter said. “But it’s been good.”

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

The keys to making a marriage last 50 years or more may be a touch of fate and staying busy.

Oneta Luce, 87, said she didn’t think there was a secret to her long-lasting marriage. But certain things helped.

“We just worked, worked, worked. We didn’t have time to fight and fuss,” she said, standing in her Farwell home.

Leon, 89, and Oneta Luce, who have been married for 68 years, met at Border Town Days in 1939.

Leon Luce worked as a truck driver for more than 30 years, which Oneta says helped out.

After Leon’s trucking days, the couple opened restaurants in Farwell and Texico and managed them together for years.

“Sometimes I look at him and I say, ‘to stay with you that long, I believe I deserve a medal,’” Oneta joked.

The Luces are one of more than 100 couples who have been married 50 years or longer, for whom Wheatfields Senior Living Community will buy lunch today at Furr’s Cafeteria.

The lunch gives older couples an opportunity to get out on Valentine’s Day, according to Wheatfields community relations coordinator Stephanie Johnson. She said the Wheatfields staff was surprised at response they received from an ad in the paper offering to buy lunch.

Prizes will be given for the couple with the most grandchildren and who have been married the longest, Johnson said.

Harold, 89, and Avis, 84, Carpenter live in Oklahoma Lane in Parmer County about two and one-half miles away from where they met.
Harold Carpenter’s parents moved to Oklahoma Lane three years before his wife’s family did in 1930. The couple went to church and school together as children. They’ve been married for 67 years.

Harold, 89, worked as a farmer and Avis, 84, had the “never ending” job of homemaker. Even now, Harold teaches a Sunday school class at the local church.

Harold said many people left Oklahoma Lane when they could, but the couple has stayed. They own the land their families first settled on, which makes them happy.

“When we were young, we knew it was ‘til death do us part,’” Avis Carpenter said. “I really do just feel like the way ours has stayed together, we’ve loved each other.”