What started off as two people being set up by friends more than 75 years ago became the subject of celebration at the Champions Center Banquet Room at the Clark County Fair Tuesday.
Robert and Dorothy Goodfellow were named King and Queen of the Golden Wedding Party for their 75 years of marriage. The king and queen are the longest married couple who have lived in Clark County at least five years and are able to attend the banquet.
Robert, 95, and Dorothy, 93, celebrated with their three children and about 800 other people who attended the banquet, which is sponsored by the Springfield Kiwanis Club and United Senior Services.
Dorothy was given a crown by 2012 Clark County Fair Queen Sydney Lewis and the couple was given a proclaimation by Clark County Commissioner John Detrick commemorating their 75 years of marriage.
Donna Frederick, executive director of United Senior Services, said about 1,800 couples are invited to the banquet each year. Any couples who have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, or surviving spouses, are invited to the event.
“We just want to celebrate marriage and have fun,” she said.
Dorothy said she and Robert met when some of their friends at their respective schools set them up. The couple eloped because they were too young to get married.
“You had to be 21 and we were only 17 and 19,” Dorothy said.
The couple went to Richmond, Ind., and wed on January 16, 1937.
Robert was born in Lawrenceville in 1917 and Dorothy was born in North Hampton in 1919. The couple had a farm in Clark County where they grew flowers, corn and soybeans. They also raised hogs and participated in the Clark County Fair through the years.
Dorothy said the best part about being married to Robert has been that the couple enjoys doing things together and love to travel. Robert’s service in the military took the couple on some of their travels.
“Every place had something special,” she said.
Robert was also honored during the banquet for being the oldest veteran in attendance, receiving an American flag donated by the Clark County Republican Party.
Dorothy said the secret to a successful marriage is simple.
“Let the other fella be his person,” she said.
The Goodfellows have three children, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
The Clark County Fair has hosted the Golden Wedding Party since 1964. The event began in 1958 and was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club. Elderly United, now United Senior Services, began their partnership with the event in 1972.