Longtime Mowrystown residents Hayes and Violet Kelley celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary on Friday.
One of their grandchildren, Miami Trace graphics teacher Kayla Dettwiller, told The Times-Gazette the two lovebirds met at school.
“They met when they were in elementary school, and Grandpa used to sit behind Grandma,” Dettwiller said. “He thought he’d be funny and unzip the back of her dress to get her all mad and flustered.”
Despite those childhood antics, their first date was the day after they both graduated in 1948, and Dettwiller said the couple took her great-grandfather’s car to a diner in Hillsboro for a 10-cent milkshake, a burger and fries.
“There used to be a restaurant in downtown Mowrystown where people would go after the basketball games,” Dettwiller said. “Grandma said they’d go out with Patty and Roger Roberts driving, and that would be their Friday night date sometimes.”
Dettwiller said after graduation, Violet attended a beauty school in Dayton and worked at a shop in Wilmington for three years until her marriage to Hayes in 1951.
At that point, Dettwiller said her grandmother stayed home to help take care of the farm they had on Five Points Rd. and to raise Dettwiller’s aunt Debbie and mother Dixie.
“Grandpa was a jack-of-all-trades,” Dettwiller said. “He could’ve been an engineer if he had gone to college, and he was good at anything he put his mind to.”
Dettwiller related a story where local contractor Roger Roberts came by the home, telling her grandfather he was short on help and needed someone to use a backhoe.
During a Sunday meal with both the Roberts and Kelley children, Dettwiller said Roberts came over with a back-hoe and while the kids played, the two men went to a back field so Kelley could learn to use the equipment.
“He worked for Roger for the next 35 years running a backhoe,” Dettwiller said. “Roger said that Grandpa was the best backhoe operator he’s ever had.”
Most recently, the couple owned and operated the former Kelley’s Food Mart in Fairfax for a number of years, and students at McClain High School will remember Hayes as the girls’ head varsity basketball coach for over three decades.
Violet said she and her husband planned to mark the occasion quietly Friday.
Hayes and Violet Kelley are the parents of Deborah (Richard) Tissot and the late Dixie (Dennis) Overstake. They have three grandchildren: Fallon and Chris Tissot, and Kayla (James) Dettwiller.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.