Lou Lowdermilk’s father died when she was 14, so on her wedding day, her brother walked her down the aisle.Max Lowdermilk was in divinity school at Duke University. As he escorted his younger sister to the altar, he reminded her that she was young, and it was not too late to change her mind.She was a high school senior at the time, and on either side of the aisle were her classmates from Asheboro High School. They were dressed for the high school prom, which was that night.But she didn’t change her mind; neither did her 21-year-old fiance, Bob Patterson. The two of them will celebrate their 62nd anniversary in May, and the pair said they never had second thoughts.The Pattersons moved to Monroe more than 40 years ago. The two were recommended by the Rev. Britt Hadley, associate pastor of Central United Methodist Church in Monroe, as a local couple whose long marriage could be an inspiration for others on Valentine’s Day.The two met “around 1950,” Bob Patterson said.“On a hill,” his wife added.She was walking home from school one day and, “I just happened by,” he said. He knew her brother and offered then-Lou Lowdermilk a ride home.Two years later, the two were married. After their Friday wedding, the Pattersons had one full day together before the Navy sent Bob Patterson to Cuba for two months. When his term in the Navy was complete, they moved to Chapel Hill so he could earn a degree from UNC Chapel Hill. Lou Patterson worked in the university hospital and earned a certificate for “putting a husband through college,” she said, smiling.He later got a job as a field tax auditor for the state and the couple moved to Monroe.Their advice for other couples?Love and respect each other, they said. Go to church. Make life interesting. Go out often.“You know you’re going to (have to) weather hardship,” she said. “Just keep the faith and look to the future.”The hardships they have encountered include cancer and surgeries. Bob Patterson, who said he was North Carolina’s tennis champion in 1946 and the Navy’s tennis champion in 1952, also isn’t able to play tennis and golf as much as he likes because of shoulder problems. During much of the interview, the Pattersons looked at each other often and held hands. Their devotion to one another is evident – and so is their sense of humor.“We never had an argument that she didn’t win,” he joked.They then looked at each other and agreed that they’d never really had an argument.She described him as “very romantic.” “She’s pretty,” he said. “Very pretty. She’s the apple of my eye, still.”
Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014
Couple’s love has lasted nearly 62 years
Jane Duckwall is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Jane? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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