INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - The secret to their success isn't complicated. Elgie and Willie Long said they have maintained their health into their late eighties by continuing to work. They have also maintained their marriage for almost seven decades. The Longs will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary July 4.
They were married in 1943 by a Justice of the Peace in Springfield, Mo. Shortly thereafter Elgie left for Europe where he served in the Army during World War II. He participated in the Normandy invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. Willie went to work at an airplane factory in St. Louis.
After the war they built their family and careers in Independence. Willie said one of her secrets to a successful marriage is to take long walks after arguments. "Excercise and just get over it and go on," she said. Elgie credited his wife's top notch cooking for his good health.
A carpenter by trade, Elgie built numerous houses in the KC metro area over the years, while Willie worked to maintain them. At one point they owned 43 properties. Now they are down to about nine or ten.
They raised two children, one of whom is still living, and have five grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, and one great great grandchild.
They said they have no special plans for their big anniversary, although Willie said she would like to travel to Alaska some day. She said she crossed one item off her bucket list by appearing on 41 Action News for this story.