Austin, Texas – A Texas couple with the combined age of 212 years are celebrating 80 years of marriage and have been named the oldest living married couple on the planet, according to Guinness World Records.
John (107 years young) and Charlotte (105) Henderson met in 1934 in class at the University of Texas. The apple of his eye sat in front of him in zoology class. Charlotte was studying to become a teacher, while John was playing on the Longhorns football team as an offensive lineman.
The sweethearts dated throughout college, and with hopes of spending a lifetime together, got married during the Great Depression in 1939 and recall spending only seven dollars on their hotel room on their honeymoon.
“When I moved from Fort Worth to Austin my freshman year, I roomed in a house across the street from Gregory Gym,” John Henderson said. “The people next door had chickens and a cow. Can you imagine chickens and a cow at Gregory Gym today?” John still holds the title of oldest living former UT football player.
Charlotte is still by John’s side, the two sharing a life that has included everything from exotic travels to countless favorite meals. “One year just went into the next year,” she said at Longhorn Village, the retirement community the couple has called home for the past 10 years. “We’ve always loved each other, cared for each other. It’s just one of those things that comes naturally to us.” She knows his favorite sweater. He knows how she takes her coffee. Sometimes it’s the most minute details that can create the seams in the patchwork of a life.
“And we support each other,” John added. “You have to be partners. Don’t try to outdo your mate. Be grateful for what you have, try to expand on what you have and try to make tomorrow a better day than today.” Although they never had kids, they were surrounded by children in their daily jobs – Charlotte as an elementary school teacher and John as a junior high football and basketball coach in Port Arthur, Texas.
John Henderson later accepted a position near the Texas coast at Humble Oil and Refinery Co., where he worked for more than three decades, traveling back to Austin frequently to attend UT games. The pair continue to attend at least one Longhorn football game each year for the past 84 consecutive years. “I’m thankful for life itself and being able to live a full life and really a healthy life. We’re just grateful and thankful for being able to exist this long.”
What’s the secret to a successful marriage and a happy life? John Henderson says it’s all about living life in moderation and being cordial to your spouse.