'He Was Meant For Me:' Putnam City Schools Couple Celebrates 60 Years Of Marriage

One metro couple is celebrating more than just Valentine's Day. They’re celebrating 60 years of marriage. News 9's Cameron Joiner spoke with the couple at their surprise anniversary party.

Wednesday, February 14th 2024, 10:05 pm

By: News 9, Cameron Joiner


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One metro couple is celebrating more than just Valentine's Day. They’re celebrating 60 years of marriage.

They work together at Ralph Down's Elementary, and to make the day even sweeter their, coworkers gave them a surprise anniversary party. The couple was blown away by the surprise.

But there was a little twist to this party, and it ties back to the very beginning of their love story. "It's so easy to celebrate them,” school librarian Ashley Rhodes said. “So easy."

To Ralph Downs Elementary staff, he's a crossing guard and she's a teaching assistant. "The kindest, sweetest people ever," Rhodes said.

But to each other, they're so much more. "Yeah, he's my partner," Emma Lee said. She’s been married to her husband, Jeryl, for 60 years. "He was just meant for me."

The surprise anniversary party's theme was meant to transport the Lees back to the day they met. "I lived in the country in McCurtain County and he moved down the road from me," Lee said.

Emma boarded the bus and saw Jeryl for the first time. "I sat down beside him and started a conversation," she said. "We were just kids."

They were teenagers at the time, but the rest is history. 60 years later, their love story inspires those around them. "It's amazing and you don't really see it a lot," Rhodes said. She organized the surprise party.

“They're a great example to the kids and to everyone here," she said. "They're like the grandparents of the school." "There's not one single student or teacher up here that we do not love,” Lee said.

And after all these years, the Lees know a thing or two about marriage. "He makes me laugh," she said. "And that's a big part of our marriage."

The couple also shared their biggest piece of marriage advice. "You've got to like the person you're with,” Lee said. “And not just love, you've got to like that person, and know that you're going to spend the rest of your life with that person."

With 60 years down, Emma and Jeryl say they're headed for 75 years of marriage next.

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