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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Mary Frances Spegal’s mother put her on a Greyhound bus bound for Louisville.
Her advice was don’t sleep with Julian Wills unless she found a preacher.


So Julian and Mary Frances did just that.
They went to the Broadway Methodist Church where a large wedding was planned for that very night. The church was decked out in its finest and there they found the Rev. Russell Gilmore.

He didn’t want to marry the couple because Julian was in the U.S. Army at nearby Ft. Knox. He told them he didn’t marry servicemen because he was never sure if they really knew their potential bride and were sincere about marriage.

“I told him that I’d know her since she was in the third grade and I was in the fifth grade at Crittenden High School and if I didn’t know her by now, then I probably never would know her,” Julian said.
Gilmore must have heard sincerity in Julian’s voice because he married them.
“We ended up with a unexpected fancy wedding,” he said.

A fellow serviceman from Bismarck, N.D. and his wife stood up with the couple.
When he left the Army, they made their first home on Gardnersville Road in Crittenden.

The secret to success for this couple is simply they’re still in love, even after 70 years of marriage.
“He’s just the best thing to me,” Mary Frances said. “We get along like two peas in a pod.We always have. He’s easy to get along with and he’s still my sweetheart.”

Julian’s advice to a young couple is make sure the love is real.
“Marriage is a 50/50 thing. You can’t boss all the time and you can’t get bossed all the time,” he said.
His other suggestion was for both the husband and wife to know a little about finances and handling money.
Mary Frances taught commerce (typing and shorthand) at Crittenden High School and made $80 per month. Julian made $30 a month working at the family’s dairy.
“That was a lot of money back then. We didn’t even have a refrigerator but we got by just fine with an ice box,” he said.
The Williamstown couple will celebrate their 71st anniversary on Nov. 24, 2013.