GOREVILLE — Don and Lois Kerley celebrated seventy years of wedded bliss on August 13!
They were married on Sunday, August 13, 1950, at the home of Lois’ parents, the Hollands, followed by a reception in the dining room. Two Johnson County ladies, Mrs. Ora Milburn, New Burnside, and Mrs. Margaret Gillespie, Vienna, took on the planning of the event, complete with the wedding cake and decorations.
Lois and Don said there was a large crowd on the rainy day, as Taylors, Stewarts, Hollands and Kerleys arrived for the ceremony. Her only regret was that she chose a going-away suit, rather than a bridal gown.
The two had grown up together, going to the Gilead Cumberland Presbyterian Church, riding the same school bus, and attending Vienna Township High School, where they became sweethearts.
They shared that they had been best friends for years and remain best friends today. Lois said, “If there is a secret to having a good marriage, it is to marry your best friend!”
Where did they go on dates way back when? Besides Eagle ball games, they went to movies in Anna, especially the drive-in theatre, although Vienna had the Grand Theatre at that time, where they occasionally attended. Following their high school graduation in 1949, Don headed to Kansas to work, and Lois enrolled at St. Mary’s School of Nursing in Cairo. She dropped out after a few month to get married and worked for a while for Dr. Veach in Vienna.
Following their wedding, the Kerleys moved up north, toting all the gifts from three wedding showers. They first lived in Waukegan and then settled in Beach Park, a small town ideal for raising their three daughters.
Don returned to Kansas, as a member of the military during the Korean War, while Lois stayed at their home with their first daughter.
He worked for the Coca-Cola Co. for many years before the Kerleys opened their own upholstery business.
When the Kerleys and their girls visited Southern Illinois, they always arrived via Route 37 in Johnson County, which took them through Goreville. They thought it looked like a good place to live and in 1977, they left Northern Illinois and bought the home they continue to live in, in Goreville. Their youngest daughter, Michelle, was in the 8th grade at the time and the two older girls were already married and chose to stay up North.
The family includes: Donna Joplin, whose late husband was Thomas Joplin, Jr.; Cindy Skvarce and husband, Dan; Michelle Sullivan and husband, Frank. The five grandchildren are: Jason Joplin and wife, Krystal; Carly Skvarce; Jayme Skvarce; Joshua Sullivan and wife, Destenie; Zachary Sullivan and wife, Mary Nell. The ten great-grands are: Brooklyn, Ariana, Jodyn Joplin; Hudson Van Cleave; Jaycie Fournier; Lincoln, Wells and Indie Sullivan; and Dakotah and Woven Sullivan.
On moving to Goreville, Don opened a home construction business, from which he retired thirteen years ago. He continued to be a handyman for several local widowed ladies, “the girls,” he called them. The Kerleys own a rental duplex that he keeps in good order. And, he is also Lois’ handyman. When they arrived in Goreville, Lois soon had a job at the Goreville School in the cafeteria.
She also joined a local group for an art class, which became a hobby/business.
During the recent COVID-19 quarantine, Michelle brought over a supply of watercolors and Lois began drawing once more. (One of her works can be seen in the photo of the Kerleys.)
Don has a workshop, where for years he created clocks, also works of art, that he quickly sold. He is now attempting to organize his tools and share them with the grandsons.
Lois was very involved in the former Goreville Progressive Woman’s Club, serving in most of its offices during the years. She joined what is now HCE back in 1952. She was also a Sunday School teacher for many years at the Goreville First Baptist Church, where they joined on arriving in town. Don still attends services, but Lois has chosen to watch them on Facebook during the pandemic.
Lois is an avid reader and enjoys her Kindle and I-Pad. Don says he reads very little, but they both watch TV. She added, “It’s on all day, whether we are watching it or not.”
She was once a quilter, belonging to two groups, but no more, having given away her embroidery and sewing machines.
Their family has traveled extensively, having a truck and camper, and enjoyed seeing many states with their daughters.
The Kerleys stay in contact with their school friends and enjoy a class reunion every year.
Don has been a village board member since 1993, which he agreed was a long time. But, he continues to enjoy serving his community.
And they both agreed, for a happy marriage, marry your best friend.
Although the Kerleys were unable to celebrate with the big party that was originally being planned by their family, to be held at the village hall, due to the Coronavirus. However, they will appreciate hearing from friends and neighbors with congratulatory cards.
The address is: 308 North Broadway Street, Goreville, 62939.