Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Features

January 19, 2014

'You're in my heart'

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

(Continued)

Don admits it was a little scary watching her fly solo, but he was very proud. He had always been drawn to her quiet confidence.

"She set her mind to it and she'd get it done," he said.

Once they moved onto a base in Savannah, Ga. they had to get used to being apart for 30 to 45 days at a time. It was a hard adjustment, especially since they had two small children.

"You got children and a life back there and it's a killer," Don said.

After several years in the Air Force, Don chose to leave it after their youngest baby wouldn't come to him and didn't recognize him. The Thomases moved to Kokomo in 1962 where they went on to have two more children. Family has always been a priority for them.

"Nobody takes family more seriously than our clan," Don said. "We've had a really rich life ourselves. A lot of it revolved around our family."

During their years in Kokomo, the Thomases made their mark in the community by helping others with generous donations and by being active in many different organizations.

"Paying back has always been big on our agenda," Don said.

As for their relationship, Don says that he and Louise have always made a good team. She kept them grounded when he said he liked to live life large.

"It was a partnership and it was co-dependence," Don said. "I realized a long time ago she made me better."

He said their marriage was ideal. They had challenges, but they faced them together. They never got to a point that they couldn’t get over together.

“It’s awfully easy to say ‘I’m out of here’ and you can do it,” Don said. “It wasn’t that way for Louise and I. I think you’ve really got to try hard.”

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