World’s oldest married couple celebrate their 80th wedding anniversary

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Family and friends of the oldest married couple in the world helped them celebrate yet another major milestone on Wednesday.

There was no doubt about the celebratory atmosphere in the air as John and Charlotte Henderson, who call Austin home, celebrated their 80th anniversary.

The couple’s wedding day was all the way back on Dec. 22, 1939, months after the start of World War II – and last month, John, 106, and 105-year-old Charlotte were presented with a Guinness World Record for the oldest married couple.

But the celebrations were only starting, as Longhorn Village, the senior living community where the couple lives, helped them throw a huge party for their 80th anniversary.

They pulled out all the stops – parked outside the building was a 1920s roadster, similar to the one that John used to pick up Charlotte for their first date all those years ago.

(Picture: KXAN)
(Picture: KXAN)

At the time, Charlotte was studying to become a teacher, while John was a football player for the Longhorns.

Jason Free, who helped his great-uncle and aunt claim the world record by alerting Guinness to their longevity, told KXAN what makes them so special.

READ MORE: World’s oldest couple lives in Austin; their advice for a happy life

“They are a wonderful couple, and an example of a very happy couple – glad to be around each other, travel together, and live life,” Jason said.

“They’ve always been very forward-looking people, always very positive about the future, looking forward to tomorrow and what the future holds.

“They’ll tell you the stories of the past, but they don’t dwell on the past – they remember it, but they look forward to the future, and they’ve always been that way.

(Picture: KXAN)
(Picture: KXAN)

“They’ve always been great to be around at the holidays, Christmas and Thanksgiving. During the football season they would always come to Austin before they moved here. [John] was always an avid UT football fan, so we could definitely always catch up and talk sports.”

Jim Bissett, a resident at Longhorn Village who has been friends with the couple for the last 10 years, told a story about helping John buy a new computer monitor.

When Jim told John that it came with a three-year warranty, John joked that it didn’t matter – he wouldn’t live that long.

That was about five years ago.

(Picture: KXAN)

John may have been wrong, but the story shows his sense of humor, Jim said.

“They’re just gracious, nice, kind people. They’re salt of the earth,” he added.

Guests at the anniversary party were treated to a huge spread of food, while photos of the couple from over the years were projected onto a wall.

A long line of people formed to congratulate John and Charlotte, who will officially mark 80 years together on Dec. 22.

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