Howell and Jean Skeen: Happy Valentine’s Day 70 times over

Published 6:44 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2024

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Any couple that has celebrated 70 years of marriage, must have a secret for long-lasting love.

Howell and Jean Skeen have the secret… and it’s simple. “Love and laughter.”

It was Howell’s “fun-loving, foolishness” that caught Jean’s eye and the love bug bit Howell when he first saw the “pretty” girl from over around Newville and never let him go.

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Howell and Jean Skeen celebrated their Platinum Anniversary in October 2023, with family and friends. It was a time of love, laughter and friendship.

Laughingly, the Skeens said the October date was close to two very special days in their lives.

The couple got engaged on Halloween and then married on Halloween.

“We got married by the justice of the peace, ol’ Preacher Foot. His old maid sister was the witness,” Jean Skeen said, laughing. “I didn’t get an engagement ring before we got married. But, I got it on our wedding day. It came as a set with the wedding band.

The groom was so excited to have taken a bride, he forgot to pay the preacher.

There was no wedding trip to the Bahamas or to the Gulf Coast

“We went home,” the Skeens said, laughing.

“I had worked at Miller Fish Camp for two years. It was hard work but I wanted to keep my job to help pay the bills,” Jean said. “Howell helped out at the fish camp and he enjoyed it.  So, there was always something ‘fishy’ going on. You don’t see many fish camps now but then they were the place to go out to eat because there was always something ‘fishy’ going on.”

The Skeens have two sons, Anthony and Phil, they inherited some of their dad’s traits and some of their moms. The family enjoyed being together and doing things together.

“We enjoyed doing things as a family, something as simple as a picnic or a dive to new place to discover,” Jean said. “Howell and I have had opportunities to travel, especially with the Kiwanis Club. We have traveled across the United States and have seen so many wonderful and amazing things.”

“The sunset at Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park,” Howell said. “The Kolomoki Mounds in Georgia, Jean said with a smile.

However, their favorite place, not just to visit, but to lay their heads, down at night, is Sweet Home Alabama.

And, after 70 years of marriage, the couple’s advice for a long-lasting marriage is “Always make up before night.”