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After both their spouses died, this couple picked up the "tattered remnants" of two families and made them into one. The Spotsylvania County duo just celebrated their 50th anniversary
The previously widowed newlyweds shared their joy with their children.
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By CATHY DYSON
Mildred and Dave Thomas remember having
She was 33 and living in Colorado, and he was 41
But as Mildred and Dave came to discover, they had more in common than not. They shared the same moral values and beliefs about raising kids.
Eight months after they met, they took a leap of faith and got married, even though some "must have thought we were out of our minds," Dave said.
The couple, who live in Spotsylvania County, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Aug. 2.
They didn't go on a cruise or have an elaborate party. They enjoyed a potluck dinner with their blended family, which has grown to 33 people and four generations.
"We are so grateful for our family," Mildred said, "and that we all love each other."
HEALING BROKEN HEARTS
The matchmaker was "one of those women who can't keep her nose out of everybody's business," Dave said.
She was his sister and lived in the same Colorado town as Mildred. She persisted until both agreed.
It was January 1962. Dave's wife had died unexpectedly in surgery two years earlier, leaving behind their young daughter.
Dave, whose little girl was then 5, wasn't so sure he wanted to get involved with the mother of three boys, ages 5, 8 and 10.
Mildred's husband had died after a long battle with diabetes.
Mildred and Dave quickly discovered the similarities they shared, after they sat at her kitchen table and talked for hours.
"Both of us had lives that we thought were going to be like that forever, and all of a sudden, everything was different," Mildred said.
Things changed again when the two united. Decades later, Dave's daughter would sum it all up in a letter to Mildred on her 80th birthday.
"You made a family out of the tattered remnants of two," Terri Beam wrote to the woman who's been her mother almost all her life. "You helped heal broken hearts, and you always made us feel secure."
THE FAMILY RESEMBLANCE