75 Years and Counting: The Story of Robert and Frances

What makes a marriage so strong it can outlast 75 years? If you ask Robert Beck, 95, of Woodbury, he’ll tell you the secret for him and his wife, Frances, 94, is, “She tells me what to do, and I just say, ‘Yes, dear.’”

Born in Stony Point, VA, Robert worked in D.C. for several years. It was during that time he met Frances. 

Frances, born in Altoona, moved around a bit when she was a child. Then at the age of 10, her father passed away. Her mother re-married a minister from Everett and they moved to South Dakota. Frances, however, had other plans; when she was 17 years old, she took it upon herself to move back East for work, landing in the D.C. area. Her step-father encouraged her to attend the Fifth Baptist Church in Southwest Washington D.C., where one of his colleagues was the charge pastor. It was there, one night after a Sunday evening service, Robert and a friend were out front talking, when two girls passed by leaving the church. They asked the girls if they could walk them home, and they said yes. One would think, knowing the story at present, Robert walked Frances home that night, but not so. Initially, he walked the other girl home and didn’t actually begin to court Frances until seeing her at a later time. The two were married on April 8th, 1944, working together as a team ever since including managing a church conference center in Bethany Beach, Delaware for 25 years.

They have four boys, the oldest son, Robert Jr. passed away at 61. The next oldest son, Kenneth, lives in Michigan; Ronald in Florida; the youngest son, Donald, resides in Tennessee. Robert and Frances also have a daughter, Sonia that lives nearby, also in Woodbury.

Their family continues to grow with seven grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and two great, great-grandchildren. 

(Left) Robert and Frances’s wedding picture from April 8th, 1944, (right) Mava Cottle poses with Robert and Frances Beck at the Community Center in Woodbury.

Excited to share their story, the Becks’s friend, Mava Cottle, contacted our magazine to tell us about this amazing couple. “They’re the sweetest people you could ever meet,” Mava raves.

Their friendship began sitting across from each other one day at the Community Center in Woodbury, and now Mava says they have their usual seats at the center and enjoy lunch almost every Wednesday.

Still living independently at home with their cat, Cookie, Robert also drives them where they need to go. Even though they don’t travel far now, they’ve made a lifetime of lasting memories with several cruises they’ve taken to see different parts of the world.

“We’ve taken cruises to Alaska, Spain, the Caribbean, New Zealand, Israel and been to Hawaii and Canada,” Robert stated, talking about all the wonderful travel destinations they’ve visited over the years.

The Becks have a great sense of pride in the longevity of their lives together, and rightfully so. 75 years together is much to be celebrated.

As Robert Brault once quoted, “A good marriage is each for the other and two against the world.” This sounds a lot like our new friends, Robert and Frances.

Thank you both, for so graciously inviting us in for just a moment, to show what two can conquer as one.

We could all take a lesson or two from their example on what makes a marriage last. 

“Whenever I tell him to do something, he just does it.”

– Frances Beck

Well, there you have it folks. Here’s to wishing this sweet couple many more years together! 

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