By Nicole Davis
Sometimes, love happens at first sight. Other times, two people begin as friends long before there is romance. Or, a friend may serve as cupid for a couple who didn’t think they had anything in common only to wind up happily married for more than 50 years today. The following Southside couples tell their own story of how they met their spouse, when sparks flew and how they keep their marriage alive after five decades.
Happy Valentine’s Day from The Southside Times!
Tom and Mary Kay Anthony
Tom Anthony was the first person Mary Kay met when she arrived at the University of Indianapolis as a freshman in 1961. He was a sophomore, volunteering to carry the freshmen girls’ luggage to their dorm rooms.
“He said he liked my smile, my dimples,” Mary Kay said. “He zeroed in on me right away.”
He asked her out on a date a couple times over the next few years, but Mary Kay kept turning him down. They were good acquaintances, but never dated.
“He was Mr. Popularity,” Mary Kay said. “I preferred the brainy guys. I just didn’t think he was my type.”
It wasn’t until the second semester of her junior and his senior year that they went on their first date. The Sadie Hawkins dance was coming up and unbeknownst to Mary Kay, her friend invited Tom to the dance and signed Mary Kay’s name on the invitation.
“I did not tell him that I had not invited him,” Mary Kay said. “I couldn’t do that. A couple days later he said we should get to know each other a little better. He invited me to a really swanky restaurant in Indianapolis and we went to a movie afterwards. I had such a good time, I realized we had more in common than I thought. He was really close to his family and I liked that. He was really funny and interesting. I misjudged him.”
Mary Kay said Tom jokes about it by saying she didn’t have enough education to realize the prize he was until her junior year.
Tom and Mary Kay Anthony, Center Grove residents, married in 1965. They have two daughters and four grandchildren.
Tom and Mary Kay continue to share their love for family, traveling and volunteer service. Tom is retired as a State Farm agent. Mary Kay retired after 30 years at teaching including 17 years with Center Grove. They continue to stay busy as active members of the Kiwanis Club of Greenwood, ringing bells for the Salvation Army during the Christmas season, cooking hot meals for 80 people once a month as part of Greenwood United Methodist Church’s outreach mission, The Shepherd’s Table.
Mary Kay is on the South Group Board of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Association, chairman of the missions committee at their church, president of the Kiwanis Club of Greenwood and is youth protection manager for the Indiana District of Kiwanis. He helped start Greenwood’s Meals on Wheels in 1974 and Greenwood Senior Citizens program in 1975, both of which are still active. Tom has served as a hospice volunteer, is the risk manager for the Indiana District of Kiwanis and finance chair and an usher at their church.
“We don’t do everything together, but everything we do is in terms of giving back in some way or another,” Mary Kay said. “It’s made it easy, the marriage. We’ve had our moments. But we share the same values. We’ve been married for 56 years so I guess something was right.”
Roy and Sharon Henderson
A junior at the time, Sharon Henderson joined her friend Mary Lou, a senior, at a roller skating rink in Northeast Ohio. It was 1963, and Mary Lou was going to attend the senior prom soon and wanted to introduce Sharon to her date. It was at that roller skating rink that Sharon spotted Roy Henderson, a skate guard there.
“I looked out and said, ‘Mary Lou, see that guy out there? He’s going to be mine,’ He was just very tall, very nice looking and of course a wonderful skater,” Sharon said. It was then Mary Lou informed her that Roy was her date for the prom.
After that blunder, Sharon said she didn’t return to that skating rink for six months. But once she did, “he didn’t stand a chance,” she laughed.
Roy and Sharon married on May 14, 1965. That year, Sharon had moved to Indiana with her parents. Roy joined after they were married. Roy joined the National Guard and then went to work for Penn Central Railroad. He retired from the railroad in 2003. Sharon spent much of her life as a homemaker, but worked a variety of jobs including in the Beech Grove school cafeteria, Indiana National Bank and more.
The couple has two children, Robert Roy Jr. and Rhona Kay Henderson, both of Beech Grove, four grandchildren and soon-to-be six great-grandchildren.
Aside from roller skating, Roy and Sharon have enjoyed many pastimes through the years such as taking cruises, camping at Dietz Lake in the Clinton/Brazil area and playing Bingo.
Currently, Roy and Sharon reside in Florida, but Sharon lives in Beech Grove half of the year to be close to their family. Roy visits as often as he can. While staying at her Beech Grove home, Sharon enjoys volunteering with Beautify Beech Grove and participating in activities at the Beech Grove Senior Center.
The couple celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary in 2020, though with the COVID-19 pandemic, it wasn’t a large celebration.
“We’ve been very fortunate, had a good life,” Sharon said. “We can’t praise the railroad enough because they did good by us and our retirement is sufficient. We’ve been pretty flexible, and we’ve been able to do just about anything we wanted to. We’ve been blessed.We’ve been together that many years and it has worked really well.”
Vic and Marilyn Kerlin
Vic and Marilyn Kerlin met in 1959 at a college-age church youth group while they were students attending Ball State Teachers College. Vic wanted to ask Marilyn on a date but there was one problem – he didn’t know her name.
So, he called up her friend and invited both of them out for a coke. He learned her name and was able to call on Marilyn from then on.
The couple married July 1, 1962. They took a 26-day honeymoon to the World’s Fair in Seattle and returned with $1.80 in their pockets, Vic said. Both worked as teachers at the time, though Marilyn stopped after two years to raise their family. Vic is retired from Southport High School. The couple has three children, Steve, Brice and Joyce; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
They first bonded over their church background and being in the youth group together, and having things in common has helped keep them together through the years. Vic and Marilyn owned an RV for more than 40 years and state that they have pulled an RV in every state of the Union except for Hawaii, and every province in Canada.
“So you might say we like to camp,” Vic laughed.
They sold the RV but still took some trips overseas. Later the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt on their desire to continue traveling.
Currently, the couple both enjoy reading, playing games on the computer and playing card games. They used to enjoy weekly euchre games at Beech Grove Senior Citizens Center but haven’t been able to attend due to the pandemic. They also watch their church services online.
“It’s a good thing we get along because we haven’t been out of the house in almost a year,” Vic joked.
While they usually spend winter in Arizona and celebrate Valentine’s Day there, this year the couple will be home enjoying each other’s company at their Wanamaker home.
Dr. George and Carole Small
Early into Dr. George and Carole Small’s relationship, at 16 years old, George told Carole that he had two goals in life: to marry her and to become a physician.
“I told her that she was going to be a physician’s wife,” he said. “She should just count on that. So I made it happen.”
Carole said, “We were kids, teenagers. I thought ‘oh my gosh, is he for real, asking me this soon to get married someday? But it held up.”
The couple initially met in 7th grade at Whiteland Middle School, though they didn’t start dating until their junior year. Their first date was on a snowy winter night in December 1961. George was driving his parent’s 1953 Green Nash Rambler, traveling south on U.S. 31 to the Artcraft Theater in Franklin. The car broke down and the new couple had to push the highway across the street to the service station on the corner, then walk to the theater where they watched Journey to the Center of the Earth twice before the car repair was finished. Carole laughed that they never watched that movie again, but she can still remember how cold that walk had been.
The couple dated for six years prior to getting married in June of 1965. They will celebrate 56 years of marriage this June.
George finished undergrad at Franklin College, graduated from Indiana University Medical School in 1969 and did his internship at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Ind. Carole worked full-time at Eli Lilly during the day and attended Indiana Central College and IU Extension evening classes.
They moved to Greenwood and started their own family medical practice, Dr. George Robert Small Jr, M.D., in May 1970. Carole did the office work and bookkeeping. They worked together for 49 years, retiring in August 2019.
George and Carole have two children and five grandchildren. They are longtime members of Greenwood United Methodist Church and say their faith has been the foundation of their lives. They both enjoy volunteering in committees at church and service organizations such as the Kiwanis. They enjoy hiking, sailing and birding – eagle watching.
Still early into their retirement, George and Carole say they’re keeping themselves busy with housework.
“We have enjoyed it one day at a time and we will continue to do that,” George said.
Carole stated. “We hold fast to the adage of ‘live well – love much – laugh often.’”