Shivers to celebrate 70 years together

Published 3:00 am Thursday, July 7, 2016


Max and Judy Shiver sat comfortably in rocking chairs looking out over their farm near the Banks community and reflecting on 70 years of marriage.

“I was 19 and Judy was 18 and we just couldn’t wait to get married,” Max said, with a smile. “I had been gone two years with the Navy. I’d served all over the South Pacific. When I got home, I asked Judy’s daddy for her hand, and he said if that was what we wanted …”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The couple agreed that the possibility of living together for 70 years never crossed their minds.

“We had been sweethearts during the height of World War II,” Max said. “When I turned 17, I wanted to join up and my parents signed for me. Judy said she would wait.”

While he was running soldiers ashore on flat-bottomed boats, she was finishing high school and attending college in Troy.

They both admitted that “maybe” they did have a date or two during the two years they were apart. But, when Max returned home, they only had eyes for each other.

Max and Judy Shiver will celebrate 70 years of marriage from 2 until 4 p.m. Sunday at the Collegedale Church of Christ in Troy. All family and friends are invited to celebrate this special occasion with them.

Not many couples are fortunate to reach their 70th year anniversary and the Shivers said they have been richly blessed.

“Starting off, we didn’t have much,” Max said. “I had to borrow money to get married on. But I was asked to take over Judy’s dad six-mule farm and that got us off to a good start.”

The young couple later moved to Macon, Georgia, where he attended electrical school and she worked in a dress shop.

“I was making $18 a month and Max was making $24 a month while going to school and working,” Judy said. “We were living high on the hog for a while. We even bought a car.”

But about that time, the couple found out a baby was on the way.

“We couldn’t afford a car and a baby, so we had to take the car back,” Max said. “We lived in a little ‘chicken coop’ kind of place and cooked on a hot plate.”

Max became a journeyman electrician and the couple moved to New York and then to North Carolina.  “Having to move around like that was hard so Max brought Ron and me back to Macon and we lived there 15 years,” Judy said. “He continued traveling all that time and that got really old.”

Max finally decided he’d had enough of being on the road. “I wanted to put my feet under the dinner table and get to sleep with that strange woman, my wife,” he said.

The couple came home to Pike County, where he had grown up in the area around Hamilton Crossroads and Tarentum, and she in the Josie Community.  By this time, a daughter, Jan, had been welcomed into their family. Judy went to work as an accountant at Bob’s Feeds in Brundidge and Max with the Troy hospital. Soon, a second son, Paul, was born.

“Those were happy times, good times,” Judy said. “We enjoyed family and friends and our work. And, when we decided it was time to retire, we bought a camper and traveled off and on for 15 years.”

Max said those travels were among the best of times.

“We went everywhere in this country of ours and it’s such an incredible place,” he said. “We had friends that we traveled with and we enjoyed every trip we took. And, when we got back home, we were glad to be here, too.”

Judy and Max answered the question that is so often asked of those who have mastered marriage.


“Everybody wants to know the secret of staying married 70 years,” Judy said. “Back when we go married, the word ‘divorce’ was not in our vocabulary. We just knew that we had to weather any storms that came … and they came.”

Max said if any couple says their marriage doesn’t have ups and downs, their memories might be too short.

“For any marriage to last, you have to hold on to the Lord’s hand,” Judy said. “You have to trust in the Lord to lead you and that’s what we’ve done. The Lord has been good to us. We’ve been blessed with wonderful children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and a long happy marriage. What more could we have hoped for?”