Tennessee Couple Celebrates Their 70th Wedding Anniversary


October 9, 2020

May we all be this blessed!

A Tennessee couple just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, The Jackson Sun reports. 


Tommy Lee Marshall Sr. and his wife Harriett recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on September 24th. The two met and dated for about a year before getting married in 1950. They met when Tommy worked at Firestone, and Harriett worked at a hotel running the elevator. Tommy said he first saw her while riding his bike to work and met through family members under the guise of laundry, something Harriett still does for Tommy to this day.

“I tell people she came off the river and I came out from the country. I was riding my bike to work one day, and I saw her walking down the street. [My sister-in-law and her auntie] got us talking because I needed someone who could do a good job with my laundry. Her auntie said she knew somebody, which I wanted because I like for my clothes to be done right with a crease in my pants looking sharp,” Tommy told reporters as he sat with a grin, crease showing in his jeans. 

The couple planned an intimate ceremony in Corinth, Mississippi, choosing the site to avoid the required blood test needed to get married at the time. After the ceremony, they returned to Jackson, Tennessee, to begin their life. Over the years, Harriett worked at the County General Hospital, and Tommy worked at the Aluminum plant while doing carpentry work on the side before leaving both to run several stores within a few blocks from their home. Even today, at 90 years old, Tommy still climbs up on a few roofs, assisting with any work he’s doing on their home.  


The Marshalls welcomed nine children together, and today have a lineage that includes 23 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. When asked how they managed to stay together this long, they credited it to their faith in God. 

“Church is what we think is the one thing that’s held this family together for so long…We want our whole family in church somewhere because it’s held us together for this long. That’s the biggest thing that’s kept us together — church and following God,” Tommy said. 


The other thing they think kept them together was regular family dinners. However, there was one rule for coming to dinner; you must go to church first. 

“We used to have the whole family over every Sunday afternoon for dinner – right here in this house. Then our family got too big to come over [so we began to rotate houses],” Harriett said. 

While the pandemic has paused their regular get-togethers, Harriett added that their priority is keeping everybody safe.


For seven decades, staying together has been relatively easy for the couple, they said, despite what some may think. A lot of love, a lot of giving, and a lot of God is what has kept and continues to keep them hand-in-hand.

“There’s nothing I can really say that was difficult that we ever had to deal with that no one else has. We’ve been blessed, and we’ve tried to be a blessing to others,” Tommy said.


Happy Anniversary!

Photo Courtesy of Gail Bailey/The Jackson Sun

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