A Wessington Springs couple celebrated an achievement that people rarely accomplish when they observed their 70th wedding anniversary on February 6, 2009.
Quite remarkably, John and Florence Sargent still live in their farm home southwest of town.
The Sargents are still in good health, but didn’t want a big celebration for their anniversary, deciding instead to have a pizza party on the farm with immediate family members.
They have enjoyed all of the cards, telephone calls and personal congratulatory wishes from their many friends and family members.
When we visited their farm last week, they were sitting at the dining table where they were enjoying another of Florence’s home-cooked meals. A mealtime prayrer booklet, “Our Daily Bread”, was nearby, attesting to the couple’s deep religious faith. They have always been regulars at the Free Methodist Church and have a deep, abiding faith in God.
“We didn’t know that the years would be this good to us when we started out in 1939,” John said. “The Lord has always been around us over the years… even when we sometimes didn’t realize it.”
“We had three kids,” John laughed, “and they are all old enough to be on social security!”
The Sargents are rightly proud of their children, who have been successful in their lives and careers. Billie is a retired military Lt. Colonel. Beverly furthered her education while in her 50’s and is now a teacher at a college in Wisconsin. Virginia works for a university as a loan procurement officer.
John and Florence arrived on their farm in 1955 after traveling around and working at various jobs. Farm life suited the family well and the kids grew to adulthood there. Florence worked in town for many years as a secretary. John was a hard working farmer who raised livestock and tilled the soil.
Around 2002 the Sargents rented out most of the land and sold the cattle to begin their retirement. In December of 2006, they sold the farm to Scott Kolousek, one of their neighbors. The deal included letting them stay in their home on the farm. These days they maintain their well-kept yard and Florence keeps a tidy house and cooks all of their meals.
They both agree when they say, “God has been good to us.”