On Jan. 25, A.J. and Lillie Reeves celebrated a milestone — their 80th wedding anniversary. A.J., who is now 106, married Lillie, now 97, on Jan. 25, 1941.
In a video recorded during Lillie’s 90th birthday celebration at Ferrum College, A.J. recalled meeting his bride-to-be at a Rock Hill Association meeting. A.J. said he told Lillie’s mother, Dora Young, she had “the prettiest little girl.”
Several years after that first encounter, A.J. saw Lillie again at Holy Trinity Church with several of her friends. Upon seeing her, he said, “It looked like the sun was shining brighter than it was anywhere.”
In 2019, A.J. and Lillie were featured in The Franklin News-Post after they were recognized as that year’s longest married couple in Virginia.
At the time, the couple’s granddaughter, Valerie LeGrand, had entered them in a contest sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter — a marriage enrichment program — to recognize the longest married couple from each state. With the award, A.J. and Lillie also were recognized in the U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Record as the 2019 Virginia winners of Worldwide Marriage Encounter’s Longest Married Couple Project.
Although they’ve slowed down in recent years, LeGrand said the couple continue to live in the same home in the Truevine community that A.J. built in 1951.
A.J. retired as a plumber and electrician when he was 80, but continued serving as a distributor for parts until he was 100, LeGrand said. A woodworker, A.J. also gained a reputation for the grandfather clocks and cedar chests he made.
Lillie, a seamstress, “was well-known for making amazing clothes,” LeGrand said. She also cooked for the local school and was well-loved by the children there.
The couple have a daughter, Claudette Williams, and a son, Al Reeves, three grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
LeGrand recalled that growing up, she and her siblings always looked forward to spending time with their grandparents.
“They’re my heart,” LeGrand said. “I just love them so much. They have lived full, fabulous lives.”