Arcephus and Mildred Kennedy threw a huge bash, celebrating their 62nd wedding anniversary on May 7 at the Masonic Lodge 109.
BY KARIN DAVIS-THOMPSON, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — Mildred Kennedy said she is still basking in the twilight of one of the best nights of her life. But two years ago, she wasn’t sure she would have the opportunity to make that important night a reality.
Recently, Mildred Kennedy and her husband Arcephus Kennedy celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary with family and friends. The original idea was to throw a big celebration two years ago for their 60th anniversary.
Everything was planned — the caterer had the menu, the invitations were sent, the venue chosen, but then, the pandemic hit, and everything had to be canceled.
“I was hurt,” the mother of two said. “People were coming from as far away as Hawaii. We had to call them all and tell them it was canceled. I had to cancel, the caterer, everything. But we got through it. I thought maybe God had another plan.”
But as things began to open, family and friends urged them to try again.
Two years later, they were finally able to celebrate. About 85 family members and friends came out to celebrate the couple at the Masonic Lodge 109. And although family from Hawaii couldn’t make the trip (a new great grandbaby is on the way and mom can’t travel), they were able to celebrate with family and friends from Georgia and nearly every region of Florida, from Port Charlotte to Miami and Tallahassee.
“They came in spite of what is going on with the pandemic,” said the 81-year-old. “We were all checked at the door. I felt very safe, and everything was wonderful.”
Everyone honored the couple’s wishes and wore silver and black.
“It was just a sea of black and silver,” she said. “I just love the colors.”
Combining the two also reminded her of the diamond anniversary, which is what a 60th wedding anniversary is often associated with.
Along with fun and fellowship with attendees, this great grandmother of 12 (13 in July) said one of the most powerful events of the night came when the couple’s pastor, Jana Hall-Perkins of McCabe United Methodist Church, prayed for them and all of the married couples in attendance.
“It was wonderful,” she said. “I won’t forget that.”
This celebration was nothing like the couple’s wedding and reception 62 years ago.
“We got married in my mother’s backyard among all of her beautiful flowers,” the former educator said. “We had a little reception in the house after the wedding. It would be a stretch to say there were 35 people there.”
The two met when her husband came down to visit relatives. Mildred was 18, and Arcephus was 22. He decided to ask her on a date after watching her walk by each day on her way to Gibbs High School.
“I hadn’t graduated just yet,” she said. “I would see him on the porch. When he asked me on a date, I told him he had to talk with my mom.”
After her mother gave her blessing, the two walked to the Royal Theater for their first date. They dated for about five years before getting married on April 2, 1960.
Now, 62 years later, she said her advice to couples is to always talk things through and make sure you welcome God into your marriage.
“God was always at the center,” she said. “And we didn’t hold on to baggage and resentment. It wasn’t always easy, but we had to learn to let things go.
Congratulations on 62 years of love and happiness!