North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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July 31, 2013

After 63 years of marriage, Tarrant husband and wife die in same week

GARDENDALE — A Tarrant couple started a life together during their wedding ceremony more than 63 years ago; they ended life on earth together at their double funeral last week.

Nubert Eugene “Gene” Jones and Mary Ethel Jones were married in April 1950. Mary had a twin sister; the sisters married cousins.

Mary worked at American News before she got married, and Gene served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Shortly after his stint in the military, Gene married his bride.

The two rented a house in Tarrant, where Gene borrowed money and paid $850 for the empty lot next to their house.

Slowly, as he had time and money, he built a house for himself and Mary. The total cost of the house was less than $3,000. They lived in the house until they died, except for the last year, according to the couple’s only child, Mary Jean Johnson of Gardendale.

Johnson was in tears Monday as she relived her parents’ legacy.

Mary didn’t work after they got married, but she “wore the pants” in the marriage, said Johnson’s daughter, Blair Self McDavid, with a laugh.

“She was in charge, but he would never admit it,” Johnson said. “She was very strict. If the doors to church were open, we were always there.”

Gene worked as a chemist at LeHigh Cement Company. When he was younger, he took a mail-order drafting course, and spent much of his spare time drawing designs for houses.

“He was always sitting at the table drawing plans,” Johnson said. He was also known for building bird houses.

Johnson said the two worked well together, and they were “very scheduled people.”

“She cooked, and he always did the dishes,” said Johnson. “They always ate at the same time. They did not like to get off their schedule.”

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