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Local couple celebrates 75th wedding anniversary

Juanita and Richard Dudney, seen Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, embrace on their 75th wedding anniversary. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

For 75 years, Juanita and Richard Dudney have been on cloud nine.

"We clicked, and I have been holding her and hugging her and kissing her ever since," said Richard as he put his arm around Juanita's shoulders.

Their love story began in 1933 in Mrs. Collins' third-grade class.

"We were going to have a spelling test, and Richard wasn't doing too well," recalled Juanita.

Juanita said their teacher asked her to take Richard out in the hall to go over his spelling words with him.

After that school year, Juanita and her family moved away. But as fate would have it, they met again in an unexpected way.

Years later, Juanita and Richard were set up on a blind date by her cousin.

"He was so cute," said Juanita. "He had a crew cut, and he was ashamed of his hair cut, so he put on a sailor hat."

They were both only 14 years old when they rekindled their relationship, and they dated for three years until they decided to tie the knot.

The young couple got married on Nov. 7, 1942, in Kansas City, Missouri. Since then, 75 beautiful years have passed, and their love has transcended time.

"Richard is my lover, my soul mate, my friend, and we've shared unconditional love and commitment," said Juanita.

"She means everything to me," said Richard with tears in his eyes. " We share a lot together."

The couple has four daughters, 10 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandson.

On Saturday, their family surprised the couple with an unexpected wedding, where they renewed their vows.

"I had a bouquet that I carried, and my son-in-law walked me down the aisle," said Juanita. "His daughter walked Dick down the aisle, and he waited for me at the altar .. afterwards, I got to toss the bouquet."

Richard said his bride looked as beautiful and radiant walking down the aisle at 92 years old as she did when she was 17.

"It's been a wonderful life together, and I couldn't imagine another person to live it with," said Juanita.

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