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Leroy Glen and Ruth Marcum were a hard working couple with five children. They taught the children the value of a hard day’s work and to thank God for their blessings when they were through for the day. They disciplined their children but each child knew they were loved.
Leroy Marcum died just before their 50th wedding anniversary. The value of marriage they taught the children has stayed with them. All five children, Louise, Leroy, Virginia, Bill and JoAnn have been married for a total of 275 years. Louise and Bronell Ratliff have been married 62 years, Leroy and Laquawana Marcum have been married 58 years. Virginia and Robert Hall were married 53 years before Robert died in 2005. Bill and Cherie Marcum have been married 52 years and the baby of the family, JoAnn and her husband, Billy Owen have been married 50 years this month.
The Marcums moved to Washington when Louise was 14 and she and Johnny Bronell Ratliff both graduated from Washington High School. Bronell remembers the first time he saw Louise. She was coming up the stairs, going in the typing room and walking toward the home economics room.
Louise remembers seeing Bronell from the study hall and walking to the FFA building. It was love at first sight for both of us, Louise said, but they didn’t get together until Bronell’s senior year, when his class was having a skating party in Lindsay.
“We had to go in Hi Emerson’s truck to the skating rink,” Louise said. “We skated together all of the time and our hearts grew fonder for each other the next three years. He had graduated and I was still in school so the love letters really flowed. We became engaged and were married on a Sunday evening, Dec. 30, 1945, at the First Baptist Church in Washington.”
“Bronell had taken a two-room house and built two more rooms and a bath room,” Louise said of their home. “We had electricity, running water, propane gas, all new furniture and built-in cabinets. It was a beautiful little home and we were so happy.”
Ratliff had five brothers who were already in the service so he was deferred to take care of his elderly parents and the 700-acre farm.
The Ratliffs had their first baby in 1949 and they moved to Johnson to run a dairy and had their second child. The drought hit and they had to sell the dairy.
Bronell Ratliff then took a correspondence course in electronics. He went to work in Purcell for Kelly Guest and Charles Carter to fix televisions. While, there their third and last baby was born. Ratliff bought Guest and Carter out and was in business there 10 years. The store burned so he went to work at Aero Commander in Bethany. The Ratliffs moved to Yukon, and Ratliff worked as an electronic tech 25 years until he retired.
“We both grew up near Washington and my mother still lived on the farm in Washington, Louise Ratliff said. “She died Nov. 24, 1986. When she died, the kids (my brothers and sisters), asked us if we’d like to buy her house. We already had our farm here so we said yes.”
“So we have been here 20 years,” Louise Ratliff said. “At first, Bronell farmed and had cattle. Then he retired and sold our farm to my brother-in-law, Billy Owens.”
When the Ratliffs lived in Yukon, Louise Ratliff became a Stanley Home Products representative. She has been a division and district sales manager and is still selling for Stanley.
Bronell Ratliff loves to run. For several years he ran 10 miles a day and has run six marathons, finishing all. He has always been an active deacon in the church in Yukon and Washington and ran the sound systems in Purcell, Yukon and Washington First Baptist churches. Louise Ratliff has been a Sunday school teacher for 66 years.
Their children are Bronita and Dennis Black of Richmond, Texas, Michael and Ina Ratliff of Gardner, Kan., and Kym and Sarah Ratliff of Charlotte, N.C. They have six grandchildren, Tray Black, Travis and Jennifer Black, Amanda Black, Brian and Misty Mays, Dr. Jonathan Michael Ratliff and Alijah Ratliff, and great-grandson, Jacob Bronell Black.
They are members of the First Baptist Church in Washington.
“Our church is our first love,” Louise said. “We are presently blessed with good health.”
Leroy Marcum of Washington and Laquawana McClure of Norman were introduced by a mutual friend. They were married Aug. 31, 1949. When they married, Leroy Marcum was in the farming and dairy business until they moved to Norman and they became independent distributors for Borden Milk Co. for 20 years.
They have been involved in other business ventures including rental properties. They have belonged to various organizations in Norman and are members of Westside Church of Christ. They have lived in Cleveland and McClain county all their lives. They have been blessed with six girls, two daughters, two granddaughters and two great-granddaughters.
Robert Hall and Virginia Marcum met and married in Oklahoma City in 1952, moved to Dallas in 1952 and lived there for 50 years. Virginia Hall worked part time in real estate. Robert Hall was an architect.
The couple had four children, Pam Barber of Gladewater, Texas, Robert Hall III, deceased, Paula Osborn and Patricia Hall, both of Plano. Their grandchildren are Kristin, Natalie and Colt Barber, Ashley Hall, Presley Osborn and Sydney and Aubrey Smith.
Bill Marcum and Cherie Emerson went to Washington elementary and high schools. They dated off and on for two years and steadily for a third. They were married Jan. 21, 1955, at Washington’s First Baptist Church.
“We moved to the family farm,” Cherie Marcum said. “Bill helped his dad in the dairy business, farmed and raised stock cattle. In 1983, went into the nursery business at Goldsby.”
They opened another nursery in south Oklahoma City in 1993 and Bill Marcum was Nursery Man of the Year in 1998. The Marcums opened another nursery in Marlow in 2006, and also started a daycare business in 1983 at the same location called Small Talk. Cherie Marcum worked at Tinker Air Force Base for two years, stopped to raise a family and studied at OU to become a teacher. She taught seventh and eighth grade at Washington for 15 years. She has retired from teaching is now working full time in the family business.
The Marcums enjoy playing golf, fishing, traveling, but mostly spending time with their children ad grandchildren. They have two sons and one daughter and nine grandchildren. The children are partners in Marcum’s Nursery. Monty and Carol Marcum have four children, Crystal, Monty G. Candance and Caitlin; Kelly and Jennifer Marcum have two, Grace Anne and Maggie Jane; and Marcia and Mark Tadlock have three children, Chloe, Tyler and Jake.
JoAnn Marcum started first grade at Washington. Billy Owen went to Goldsby grade school and started to Washington in ninth grade. They started dating their sophomore and junior year and graduated in 1955 and 1956. They married Aug. 18, 1957, and have lived in this area all of their lives.
Billy Owen attended business school for one-and-a-half years at OU then went to work for the Internal Revenue Service. Later, he went to work for Tinker Air Force Base, retiring in 1992. JoAnn went to work for Purcell Medical Clinic in 1956 after graduating high school and continued to work in medical clinics and hospitals until she retired in 2005.
They are now raising cattle and enjoying working at home. The Owens also are members of the First Baptist Church at Washington.
The siblings are not only close to their spouses and children, they also are just as close with each other today as when they were young and living at home. Bill Marcum couldn’t really put a finger on what his parents taught them or how they have grown into the adults they are. He said, he and all his siblings are hard workers and strived to be independent. He also said they married hard workers.
“We have really been blessed by God,” Bill Marcum said. “We all have good health, good minds, we’re thinkers and are all ambitious. But mainly, we have been blessed.”
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