SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Back in the spring of 1942, 20-year-old Doyal Lindsey cast his eyes on a pretty young lady at Doling Park Skate Rink.
“That’s my sister,” Doyal’s buddy said, pointing to then-18-year-old Ruth Walker.
Doyal made his way across the rink and introduced himself.
“He was a wonderful skater,” Ruth recalled.
A few months later in that same skate rink, Doyal put a ring on Ruth’s finger and proposed.
“We sneaked away to a minister in Ozark. We were married there in his home,” Ruth said, smiling. “Back then a lot of people did that. You didn’t hear of big weddings back then.”
Last Saturday – to celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary – Ruth and Doyal finally got their big church ceremony.
More than 100 friends and family came to the Lindsey’s vow renewal ceremony at the Sunset Church of Christ, where they’ve have attended since the church was built in 1986.
Flanked by their two grown children, multiple grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Ruth and Doyal promised to continue loving, honoring and cherishing each other.
When Minister Joe Bright asked if anyone knew of a reason the two should not continue to be joined, someone teased, “He doesn’t want any more children.”
Bright laughed and vetoed that reason.
“I pronounce you good for another 75 years,” Bright said to Ruth and Doyal.
“Sentimental Journey,” one of the couple’s favorite songs, played as they exited the chapel. A reception followed in the church’s fellowship hall.
Ruth, 93, and Doyal, 95, continue to live independently in their Springfield home. They love to garden and spent many of their retirement years traveling the globe.
Doyal, whose nickname is Spike, hits the gym three times a week. Ruth enjoys sewing, reading and writing.
And when the News-Leader visited the Lindseys last week, the two seemed more excited about the family coming over for Christmas than they did about their vow renewal ceremony.
“We have five grandchildren. I’ll show you their pictures,” Ruth said proudly. “And we have 12 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. And we have them all home for Christmas. It’s rowdy.”
Doyal grinned and motioned to the living room.
“(My son) sits all the kids down right here on the floor and he has them all sing before we get the presents,” he said.
Asked what their secret to a long and happy marriage is, Doyal pointed up.
“We are both spiritual people,” she said. “We put our trust in God.”
‘God answered my prayer’
Associate minister Dwight Samuel also spoke at the vow renewal ceremony and read a few of his favorite paragraphs from Ruth’s memoir.
“I was attracted to him because he had been raised very poor like me and he had been loved by family like I had,” Samuel read from Ruth’s memoir. “He was very loving and protective of me. He was a very good sport, always happy, considerate of other people and respectful of others.
“Our love and respect for each other has kept us together,” Ruth had written.
Samuel continued sharing details from Ruth’s memoir about their early married life.
Their first home cost $2,750, Samuel said.
“We had an ice card marked with several different amounts like one pound or five pounds or 10. We placed the card in the front window with the amount we wanted on top,” she wrote in part. “We finally graduated to a refrigerator when we moved to 1812 West Calhoun in 1952. Then we could forget about the drip pan.”
Samuel then read from a special portion of Ruth’s memoir – when she wrote about Doyal’s service during World War II. He was drafted shortly after they married and served as an X-ray technician in military hospitals.
“I always had faith but my faith became stronger when Doyal was serving,” she wrote. “Especially the year he was in England. Many time for weeks I didn’t know where he was or if he was OK.
“I prayed for stronger faith, that he would come home and God answered my prayer.”