EVERYDAY HEROES: 'Wholesome living' key to 70-year marriage

Cherokee County residents Troy and Faye Walker are about to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary.

In 1948, Harry S. Truman was re-elected President of the United States in an upset victory over Thomas E. Dewey. The U.S. was grappling with inflation caused by labor disputes following the end of World War II, and “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” inundated the radio for the first time.

And on Aug. 23, Cherokee County residents Troy and Faye Walker exchanged their vows at the Muskogee Justice of the Peace.

The two met when he was 10 years old, and she just 9, after her family moved from Three Rivers, Texas. Her father bought the farm that belonged to Troy Walker’s family in Keys. The two got married six years later when he was 16 and she 15.

While their parents were not excited about the marriage, they agreed to sign the paperwork, according to Troy. Despite that, the justice of the peace still did not want to perform the ceremony.

“They weren’t going to marry us until we finished school. However, my sister told the justice of the peace that Faye was pregnant. It was a lie; we didn’t do anything like that,” said Walker.

That was enough to convince the officiant to perform the wedding.

Throughout his career, Troy was a truck driver, a dairy farmer, and an oil worker. He worked for the National Refining Co. until his oldest daughter graduated from high school in Oklahoma City.

“It was a refinery where they took in used oil and recooked it – got the solids out of it. It looked like honey when we got done with it. We cooked 6,000 gallons of oil a day,” said Walker.

They bought a property between Peggs and Locust Grove, where he built a barn and raised dairy cows.

“When our kids got married, I started breeding beef cows, too,” said Walker. “They were all raised here on this farm.”

When asked about examples of successful marriages, Walker looks up to his in-laws, who served as an example to him.

“I had some of the best in-laws in the world. They treated me just like my mom and dad did. They were good Christian people. I never heard him say a cuss word,” he said.

The couple are now in their 80s, and they are not as mobile as they used to be. Troy spends much of his time looking after Faye.

“She’s in a wheelchair, and I’m in one, too. It makes me feel joy to fix her coffee and to get around. Since we’ve been married, we’ve just been one person,” he said.

The two have always lived within their means, which has blessed their family economically.

“One of their parents gave them a spoon, a fork, a pillow, and a plate, and that was their wedding present. They pay cash for what they buy,” said their granddaughter, Charlotte Whitekiller.

Troy praises Faye for raising strong children who care about God and their community.

"The mother is the foundation of a family. They are around when the kids are young. They put a fear of God into them. For us, Faye is the foundation of this family," he said.

The two are active in the Come and Dine church, north of Tahlequah, and they credit wholesome living to their longevity.

“I try to be good to everyone I meet, and everyone is good to me,” said Walker.

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