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Couple celebrates 78th anniversary on Thanksgiving

Married on Thanksgiving in 1939
Posted at 10:30 AM, Nov 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-23 16:54:35-05

BRIGHTON, Colo. -- It’s a special Thanksgiving for a Brighton couple, celebrating 78 years of marriage today. Louis and Glenna Stephen were married on November 23 1939, which also happened to be Thanksgiving. Sort of.

That was the year that President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the date of Thanksgiving. He moved it up a week, hoping to boost holiday sales in one of the final years of the Great Depression. Before 1939, Thanksgiving had been celebrated on the final Thursday of the month, instead of the 3rd Thursday, as is the case nowadays.

But Glenna and Louis weren't paying much attention to the Thanksgiving date change on their wedding day. They were too busy. And it’s been a busy 78 years since.

“We’ve had our ups and downs, I think every couple does,” says Glenna, who is now 99-years-old.

Their first date was arranged by Louis’ sister. A trained pilot, he had been flying earlier that day, and was tired on the date.

“I didn't make a good impression,” says 100-year-old Louis.

But by 1939 they had set a wedding date: Thursday, November 23. The newspaper announcement declared Glenna a “holiday bride.”

“I think it's pretty amazing to think they were married on the very first Thanksgiving, set by FDR, and that the day the date fall again together on their 78 anniversary,” says Gary Stephen, the couple’s son.

But the couple never thought they were particularly special. They credit their long marriage to always talking things out and putting family first.

“You realize how blessed you are when you have your parents for this many years,” Gary added.

Louis says his wife had to be very tolerant. And while Glenna said there were a few times she wanted to kick him out of the house, their life together has been very blessed.

“On the whole it's been very good, our life has been very good to us," she says.