A Chicago native and a lady from small town Pace, Fla. said, “I do,” in the summer of 1943. On June 10, Robert and Dannie Bowman will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary.
Robert and Dannie first met on a cold, winter day in early 1942 at First Missionary Baptist Church in Pace, Fla. He was a young, navy sailor stationed at NAS Pensacola, and she was the beautiful woman hidden beneath the big, floppy, felt hat.
Although neither remembers all of the specific details of their courtship, dating, and early marriage, Dannie recalls Robert’s pursuit of her.
“He was a very determined young man," Dannie said with a smile in her eyes. "He found out too much about me too soon from mutual friends. I tried to get rid of him in 1942, but he just wouldn’t leave me alone."
Luckily for Robert, Dannie was unsuccessful and eventually decided to give him chance. After getting engaged, they were married by the late Reverend E.E. Rice at his home off Scenic Highway in Pensacola. After completing his time in the service, they moved to Chicago for a few years before returning to Pace to make their permanent home on Bowman Ranch. They built their home and raised their three sons on the same property where Dannie was born and raised. Their home was the family center, as their immediate family lived on the same 40 acres.
Robert and Dannie were each very successful in their careers. However, more importantly, they have been successful with a 70-year marriage. Throughout the years, they have spent time together traveling to visit family, working their gardens, taking afternoon swims, and much more.
They devoted much of their time to their children and grandchildren. Robert built all four granddaughters a dollhouse, and Dannie sewed all of the furnishings for each one.
When asked what the secret was to being married for so long, Robert piped up and said, “Just love. Love is what makes this work.”
The couple will be celebrating their platinum anniversary with a gathering of their closest friends and family at their church, Fellowship Baptist Church.