FORT WAYNE - From high school sweethearts to a lifetime of love, a Fort Wayne couple is celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary this weekend. Walter and Betty Vaness' family and friends threw a surprise party for them at Triangle Park Bar and Grill to celebrate the milestone.
"I'm just absolutely floored," Betty said. "I'm just amazed. I got a great, great family."
The couple grew up in the small town of Elwood, Indiana. The high school sweethearts graduated from Wendell L. Willkie High School.
While Betty said she did not like Walter at first and would cross the street when she saw him to avoid him, Walter's sister eventually set them up on a double date. That first date was to a church service. Their love affair began that day and they married on May 3, 1943.
"We loved each other from the beginning," Walter said. "When I first seen her, I fell in love with that red-headed girl. I loved her very much. She's been the best friend I ever had. We loved each other very much."
The couple built a life of faith and family. Walter worked as a machinist at the GM factory in Anderson. Betty was a homemaker. They had three kids together.
Family and friends often ask what's the secret to their lifelong devotion.
"We never had a disagreement where we went to bed mad," Walter said.
"it's up to God, too, because we've always been in church," Betty added.
To this day, they read the scripture and pray together every day, their faith undying.
"One of these days we're going to make it to heaven together," Walter said in earnest.
The Vanesses had three kids, three grandkids, and five great-grandkids. They moved to Fort Wayne about 20 years ago.