It is a love story 80 years in the making.
“We argued every day because he would say about 5 times a day how much he loves me. And I would argue back that I love him more.”
Frank and Tommie Otway recently celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary with a big party at Nice n’ Easy Oyster Bar in Orange City.
“Well it all started in East Orange, New Jersey and here we are in Orange City ending it up,” said Tommie.
On February 6, 1942, Frank was 18 and Tommie was 16 when they eloped after meeting in the New Jersey apartment building where they both lived.
For one of their first dates, they took the train to New York City.
“He would buy me a 5-cent orange drink and a 10 cent hot dog,” she said.
Frank was a basketball player who served three years in the U.S. Marines before they started a family.
It wasn’t always the perfect love story.
They outlived all five of their children, as well as some of their grandchildren.
“We had our precious five children, but the Lord thought they were more precious and he took them to be with him,” said Tommie.
They are now surrounded by more than 20 grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Orange City. The four ‘C’s, they say, kept them together.
“Christ, we have to have Jesus in our lives, and I say commitment.”
She keeps adding that the other two are communication and compassion. They have the option of throwing in cards. Their dining room table is loaded up with letters, including one from Governor Ron DeSantis congratulating them on their 80th anniversary.
“I’d like people to remember us sitting back to back, supporting and loving one another,” said Tommie.
Another event is coming: Frank’s 99th birthday is in March.