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January 19, 2014

'You're in my heart'

The Thomases face challenges of Alzheimer's after 60 years of marriage.

Don Thomas knew he had to take up skating when he laid eyes on 14-year-old Velma "Louise" King at a rink in Marion, Ky., many years ago.

Her beauty caught his eye.

He even remembers what she was wearing. It was a white top with a bright red, ruffled skirt. He thought she was the cutest girl he'd ever seen.

"Oh my gosh," he said. "Louise, you were gorgeous in that skirt."

They were both freshmen in a small high school in Crittenden County, Ky. when they first noticed each other, but it wasn't until sophomore year that they started dating.

"I didn't chase her and she didn't chase me," Don said. "It was just simply mutual."

They went to movies, attended church youth group parties and went on a lot of double dates. Don would carry her books as he walked Louise home every day after school.

"We had a lot of fun," Don said.

Don and Louise went on to graduate high school, along with their 30 classmates. The whole time, they both knew they wanted to marry each other, and after four years of dating, they did just that.

"There just came a time when we felt like we could," Don said. "We had things figured out. We just knew we could do it. We dated a long time and we just knew each other."

Don was a sophomore at Evansville College at the time. They were both 18, and were married at Marion Methodist Church in Kentucky on July 4, 1953.

After he graduated college, he went into the Air Force. Louise went with him and during pilot training she even tried her hand at flying a plane by herself. Don watched from the runway.

"She thought every wife whose husband was a pilot ought to know what it’s like," Don said.

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