Valentine’s Day is a special holiday for Marvin and Patricia Neel. It was on this day in 1959 that Marvin proposed to Patricia. Now, his love for his wife is just as strong as it was 58 years ago.
Marvin and Patricia met at the University of Houston. Marvin had just been discharged from the Air Force and was pursuing an engineering degree. Patricia worked as a secretary for the school’s basketball coach.
“I thought she was pretty good looking,” Marvin said. “I let it be known by some of my other friends that I thought she was somebody that I would like to meet and possibly date.”
The couple went on their first date along with a pair of Marvin’s friends. Marvin said he was a little shy around girls at the time, but after a little encouragement from one of his friends, Marvin and Patricia shared their first kiss.
“He was chiding him and he says ‘Kiss her, Marvin. Kiss her.’ And he did kiss me,” Patricia said with a smile. “His words were this, ‘That wasn’t so bad, was it?’”
This memory was the beginning of what would be a lifetime of memories for the Neels. After getting married, Marvin went on to graduate from the University of Houston with his engineering degree. He encouraged Patricia to go to school to get a degree in music, jump starting her career as a piano teacher. Their lives were coming together, and soon raising a family would become part of it.
Their third child was born on Valentine’s Day, giving the holiday even more significance to the Neel’s. But right before that child arrived, Marvin’s health started to become an issue.
“He was in the hospital in Houston, I had gone in and the doctor had told both of us at the same time that he was a stroke victim walking,” Patricia said.
Marvin was able to get through that, but more medical issues were on the way. Triple bypass heart surgery and an aortic valve replacement would threaten his life again. But through it all, Marvin always his wife by his side.
“It’s something that you could sit and worry over, cry and mope,” Patricia said. “But I think our faith keeps us strong and I trust that the good lord will see us through.”
Marvin and Patricia Neel share four kids, eight grand kids, and 58 years of memories. Now retired and living in Temple, the Neel’s no longer worry about what will happen next. They choose to be grateful for the time they have together.
“I don’t know what the future is going to be,” Marvin said with tears welling in his eyes. “But I’ll do it with her, she’ll be with me.”
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