Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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July 3, 2013

The Sextons and the love they love

The couple became parents, grandparents and foster parents together


Jerry nervously proposed in the car on Christmas Eve and several months later, the couple married on April 12, 1957 at Main Street Methodist Church in Kokomo. They were both 20.

The year after Jerry joined the Navy, the couple moved to Maryland. He had been stationed to work with military computers. “I was one of the lucky ones,” Jerry said. “I had [Rosie] with me the whole time.” After Maryland, Jerry and Rosie moved to Hawaii, then to Washington D.C., Pensacola Fla., and then Norfolk, Va. before moving back to Kokomo in 1975. Each of their four children was born in a different state. They hadn’t been back in Kokomo for very long before the Sextons decided to become foster parents. They missed the noise of young kids in the house. “Kids are a lot of fun,” Jerry said. “You just gotta relax and learn to enjoy them,” he said. During the 14 years, Jerry and Rosie fostered 86 children. Each child they fostered lived in their home for two or three years. “The kids were great,” Rosie said. “They felt safe.” They stopped being foster parents in 1993 when their own grandchildren were being born. Without any kids to take care of in their own house, the Sextons were bored. “I tried staying home for a month,” Rosie said. “I didn’t have anything to do. I would watch TV and sleep.” They both got part-time jobs at Staples to stay busy. They still work there together a few days each week. They also volunteer with IOPO, an organization that assists those donating organ and tissue to those in need. They’ve both had organ transplants in the past. Jerry had to have a kidney and liver transplant and Rosie has had two cornea transplants. “I think with all those blood transfusions we helped build Howard Regional,” Jerry joked. Besides their part-time work schedule and volunteering, the Sextons spend a lot of time with their family and enjoy staying busy. “You don’t wanna stop and sit down because then you realize you’re old,” Jerry said. The Sextons have been married for 56 years and credit their successful marriage to patience, love and a lot of give between the two of them. “You can get upset, but you can usually find a little bit of silver lining there someplace,” Rosie said.

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