Orange Park couple marks 70 years of wedded bliss
Marriage followed husband's return from WWII service
ORANGE PARK, Fla. – Generally speaking, most people would agree their house is filled with unconditional love.
At the home of Ray and Joan Roop, that love spans generations and, as of Tuesday, seven decades. When the minimum wage in America was around 70 cents per hour, gas prices hovered around 25 cents and Harry Truman was in the White House, the Roops exchanged vows and became husband and wife.
The love that the Roops felt on their wedding day is one that has spanned generations.
"Seventieth anniversary -- that's longer than a lot of people live," said Melissa Cashen, the couple's granddaughter. "They got married when my grandma was 18 and my grandpa was 23."
When the couple tied the knot, Ray Roop had just returned from serving in the Navy during World War II.
"He was very quiet. I like that," Joan Roop said. "And he was quite a gentleman."
The couple lived up north and started a family right away. They had two boys and a girl. Tragically, both sons have since passed away from cancer.
As the years went by, more milestones were celebrated. The couple's grandchildren were born, and they celebrated 50 years as husband and wife.
Even now, 70 years later, at 87 and 92 years young, the Roops' smiles haven't gone anywhere.
"I'm very grateful," Joan Roop said.
Melissa Cashen said throughout her childhood, her grandparents were always up for spending quality time.
"We did take a lot of family vacations. They were always at our house Christmas morning," Melissa Cashen said. "Pretty much all of my childhood memories are with them."
The couple eventually made their way south to Orange Park in Clay County, Florida, to be closer to family. In fact, the Roops share their Orange Park home with several family members, including Melissa Cashen and her three children.
The couple's grandson, Cameron Cashen, recently got married and has the perfect example to which to aspire.
"I mean, every day, I try to be the best that I can be for her," Cameron Cashen said. "I'm hoping 70 years down the road, we'll be there just like they are with a home full of memories."
Melissa Cashen said these days, it's all about the great-grandchildren. Evie, 3, and 1-year-old Amelia are two of several.
"My daughter loves my grandma," Melissa Cashen said. "My daughter's middle name is Joan, after my grandma, and she's probably her favorite person."
Melissa Cashen said getting around isn't as easy for her grandfather, but he is always determined to share quality time with loved ones. The family has already gotten together for a 70th anniversary celebration dinner. Cake and ice cream was planned for Tuesday night.
The Roops' love for each other is one they're grateful to share with the newest generation. And while there may never be a perfect formula to everlasting love and a happy marriage, the couple agreed that working with each other's thorns, as Joan Roop calls it, goes far. For Ray Roop, a little bit of humor does the trick, as well as laughter and smiles.
"My secret? Listen to your wife," he told his grandson, Cameron Cashen.
While a lot can change over the course of 70 years, for their loved ones, the Roops' devotion to each other is a testament to everlasting love and commitment.
"My grandma's big thing was finding somebody to take care of you. My grandpa took care of her for a long time," Melissa Cashen said. "And now it's kind of her turn to take care of him."
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