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Nebraska couple dons original wedding dress, suit in sweet photo after 60 years of marriage

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Sixty years after their wedding day, Lucille Stone says husband Marvin still looks pretty darn good in his suit.

Marvin thought his bride looked lovely, too, in the gown she made herself.

“A few changes,” Marvin said, “but beautiful.”

The Kearney, Nebraska, couple brought out their wedding finery when they decided to have professional photos taken in their backyard to mark their anniversary. They were married Aug. 21, 1960.

Lucille, 81, had to alter her dress a bit at the waist — the 40 buttons down the back were unforgiving. But 88-year-old Marvin had no problems.

“He can still get in his army uniform from 1953,” Lucille said. “No matter what I cook, and I think I feed him pretty well, he never gains any weight.”

The pictures probably would have been seen only by family and friends before the arrival of social media. But Katie Autry of Katie Autry Photography said they were too precious not to share.

The couple’s love for each other showed as she captured the photos, Autry said, making her teary-eyed behind the lens. She posted her images on Facebook, hoping they would lift people’s spirits in the somewhat dark days of the coronavirus pandemic.

The images have been liked and shared by thousands on social media.

“It’s something happy and something that warmed people’s hearts,” Autry said. “They are such a great example in relationship and faith.”

Daughter Christina Nelms said there have been ups and downs in her parents’ 60 years of marriage, which has resulted in three children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Although loving, they are not a mousy couple.

“They are both strong-willed,” she said. “I will just say they are not the type to beat around the bush when they have opinions or feelings. They are equally as passionate when they are being sweet to each other and supporting each other.”

They met in David City, where they were both teaching. It caused quite a stir among their students when Marvin asked Lucille to a high school football game.

They both continued to teach on and off as Marvin earned his Ph.D. in geography. Babies started arriving, and they eventually landed in Kearney, where Marvin taught for 32 years at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Lucille taught home economics there and at Kearney High School before retiring in 1994 to spend more time with the family.

Marvin often wore his wedding suit, which was at the time far more practical than a tux. The dress had been packed away since Lucille last wore it for their 25th wedding anniversary photos.

“It fit me perfectly then,” Lucille said.

She learned to sew by making quilt squares on her mom’s treadle sewing machine — there was no electricity on the farm in those days. She excelled at hand work, which proved useful as she covered the 52 buttons in total, including six on each sleeve, and added loops to fasten them.

She and her mother bought the polyester satin fabric for her creation at Gold’s Department Store in Lincoln. She followed a pattern for the dress, which took about two months to make, but added her own touch with scalloped lace on the bodice, sleeves and skirt. Tulle lined the lace and hand-sewn sequins and pearls kept it in place.

It really made a statement, Marvin said.

“It took a while, but I liked my dress,” Lucille said. “It really held up very well.”

Just like their love through the years.