BY STEVE DUNN
My mother was a beautiful woman – both physically and spiritually. If she was still living, today would be the 66th wedding anniversary of Marilyn Reames and A. Gail Dunn. My mother died in 2000 of cancer, just a few months past their 50th wedding anniversary.
They were married on New Year’s Day in the just completed chapel of the new College First of God by their pastor, Dr. Darrell Linder. Both were students at my denomination’s school Findlay College. Gail, a native of Columbia City IN was a history major and a cheerleader, a year younger than Marilyn. He also sang in a quartet called The Gospel Five and was preparing for the ministry. Marilyn was ultimately training to become a medical technician. A high school beauty and a member of the College Choir, she came from Zanesfield, Ohio-the daughter of a nominally Christian family that was attending a Friends Meeting when she enrolled in college. The first time Dad saw Mom, the very first time, he said, “I am going to marry her.”
My paternal grandparents, TA and Mary Ruth Dunn, were very excited about their beautiful new daughter-in-law; especially she since was a warm, outgoing, and mature Christian. Her parents did not attend the wedding. My maternal grandmother, Wynona Reames thought her daughter could have done better than being married to a preacher. I suspect her husband Robert, who came from a staunchly Methodist family didn’t share her opinion, but Grandma won most arguments in their family. For the record, a few weeks later, she changed her mind and they showed up at the newlyweds humble lodgings (remember they were both college students) with wedding presents and kisses. Over the years she came to love my Dad, especially since he loved her only daughter. (My strong-willed grandmother, however, always insisted on picking up the check.)
A year later Mom dropped out of college to have me. Dad graduated and was ordained to the ministry of the then Churches of God in North America. My mother was a stay-at-home Mom
as they had three more children. After the youngest, Mark, was born. she went back to college earning her degree in medical technology and enduring the trampoline in gym class, graduating 17 years later as the oldest member of her class.
Mom and Dad always went to lunch on their anniversary, a tough task since it was New Year’s Day and many restaurants were closed. Their favorite was the Embers in Carlisle PA. The first anniversary that Dianne and I enjoyed we went to the Embers, a high class place for college students. Yes, we got married in college, too but Dianne managed to graduate 10 days before our first child was born.
Gail and Marilyn were devoted to one another. And they passed that devotion to one another in marriage–and a devotion to Jesus Christ, that inspired many. Later, when Dad became the conference superintendent, they made a ministry of inviting clergy couples to their home for dinner, fellowship and encouragement. To this day, I continue to meet pastoral couples who consider the ministry Marilyn and Gail provided to them one of the best blessings God had bestowed on them.
I thought celebrating them, especially because of their New Year’s Day wedding, would be my most appropriate first blog post of the New Year. Better them than the celebs and pols and villains that will occupy center stage in the broader world.
© 2016 by Stephen L. Dunn. You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to www.drstevedunn.com. For all other uses, contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org