On August 28, 2019, John and Charlotte Henderson were officially named the oldest living married couple in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records . After 80 years of true love, friendship and companionship, they are still waxing strong in a partnership that would stun the world for years.
The couple has a combined age of 211 years, where John is 106 (USA, b. 24 December 1912), and Charlotte is 105 (USA, b. 8 Nov 1914). In less than two weeks, their combined age will increase to 212 as John will be turning 107 on December 24.
The couple celebrated their 80th anniversary on Sunday, December 15. They were married in 1939 during the Great Depression, the last year of a period of great economic breakdown and seemingly endless suffering across the United States. It’s an irony that something so beautiful came alive and took solid roots in a time of great distress.
A beautiful love story
The couple met at the University of Texas (UT) in 1934 where John was a star footballer and Charlotte was studying to be a teacher.
“Charlotte looked over her shoulder and smiled and I knew I wanted to take her on a date,” he told TODAY of the first time he set his eyes on his queen . “She was anxious for me to ask her!”
In their youth, the sweet pair who have no children lived an adventurous life. They traveled and toured as much as they could. However, they’ve decided to slow things down and enjoy their golden years at Longhorn Village, a retirement community for the elderly. They moved into the friendly community affiliated with the University of Texas alumni in 2017.
“In our ages, we’ve slowed down somewhat,” John Henderson explained. “We used to go on cruises, but now we have to take it easy. We like watching sports and talking about what we’re going to do tomorrow.”
For the past 9 years, John has been the oldest living former player of the University of Texas football team. It’s been a tradition of his for the past 84 years to date to watch at least one Longhorn football game every year.
True friendship and mutual understanding
The couple recalls that all that truly mattered to them in their early years was being together. They spent $7 in a hotel for their honeymoon after their wedding, and it’s remained one of the most memorable times of their lives.
Speaking to TODAY, nephew Jason Free says that they are an inspiration to many others out there. They love each other deeply and have always been all about moving forward.
“They don’t dwell on the past,” Free told TODAY. “You won’t hear them say, ‘Oh, if only it were 1952 again, everything would be great.’ They are still making plans for their future together.”
He says that Charlotte is fond of checking in on her husband to make sure everything is alright. Whether he’s out on an errand with his nephew or at a game, she has to make sure he’s okay.
“She likes to know when John is going to be coming back,” Free said.
Both John and Charlotte are very healthy and still in great shape. John says he makes it a point of duty to work out every day. Also, having a positive attitude is essential for good health and longevity.
“But some people think it’s because we never had kids!” He joked.
To young couples out there, his advice for a long, happy marriage is to “live life in moderation and be cordial to your spouse.”
Golden words from a golden couple. More years to their lives.
- Mallory Hughes. A husband and wife in Texas are officially the oldest living couple in the world. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2019/11/08/us/oldest-living-couple-trnd/index.html. Retrieved 16-12-19
- Rachel Paula Abrahamson. Husband, 106, and wife, 105, are named the world’s oldest living couple. Today. https://www.today.com/news/husband-106-wife-105-named-world-s-oldest-living-couple-t167079. Retrieved 16-12-19
- Admin. Oldest married couple, aggregate age. Guinness Book of World Records. https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/oldest-married-couple-aggregate-age. Retrieved 16-12-19
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