Reece and Ruth Boone
Married 72 years
Not many people have the chance to meet their great-grandchildren, but Dr. Reece and Ruth Boone, married for 72 years, are fortunate to count seven great-great-grandchildren in their family.
“I’m not even sure how many grandchildren and great-grandchildren we have,” Ruth says, “but when we have a birthday party, we need a whole room just for us.”
This Tulsa couple holds its annual family “re-Boone-ion” at St. Simeon’s Senior Community retirement home, where they now live. Last year marked the 35th anniversary of the family gathering.
The Boones aren’t originally from Oklahoma; they met while both were in high school in Virginia.
“That was the beginning of our long love story,” Reece says. “Ruth has even written a book about it. It’s called Dear Family.”
The couple moved to the small town of Mooreland, Okla., where Reece set up a medical practice after spending eight years as a surgeon.
“Northwest Oklahoma was fortunate to have a board-certified surgeon working in general practice in a rural area,” says one of the couple’s sons, Richard Boone.
The Boones had six children – five boys and one girl – all raised in Mooreland. All six went to college and got degrees, and all of the boys played college football.
“We definitely had a lot of sports in our marriage,” Reece says.[pullquote]“The success of our marriage is really based on love and on truth,” Reece says. “We’ve always been extremely happy that way. It’s been a beautiful life, and that’s because of all the beautiful things that have happened to our family and us. You should marry the one you love and be true to them.”[/pullquote]
Through the 1960s and ‘70s, Reece even had a pilot license and a small plane that he would fly to attend various football games in the region, creating a flight plan on many Saturdays and even standing in as an on-field medic for some games.
“Our daughter learned the football language from the time she was very young. When she was a toddler, she could tell when something happened in a game, and she would call it,” Ruth says.
The sports world is still a big part of the Boones’ lives.
“We’re 93, and we are still paying attention,” Reece says. “Mostly, we watch football, but sometimes we’ll get interested in other sports, too.”
Today, Reece is in a wheelchair, but he’s able to join his wife on her regular walks. Ruth walks two to three miles every day.
“Mom has been an avid athlete all her life,” Richard says. “She was a race walker and has won every senior event in the Tulsa area. She’s got enough gold medals to weigh her neck down if she tried to wear them all at once.”
Ruth also has a lifelong interest in music, and the couple occasionally goes to the opera.
“I’ve been to enough sports games that Reece can sacrifice every once in a while and go to the opera,” Ruth says. Tragedy struck the Boone family a few years ago when they lost a son to a heart attack.
“It was a terrible thing, but we got through it with a lot of family love and time together,” Reece says.
Continuing to love one another, even through hardships, has kept the Boones’ marriage strong. Living together in a small apartment, the Boones can focus on one another more than ever. Their concern for each other is the basis of their lives, Ruth says.
“The success of our marriage is really based on love and on truth,” Reece says. “We’ve always been extremely happy that way. It’s been a beautiful life, and that’s because of all the beautiful things that have happened to our family and us. You should marry the one you love and be true to them.”
His wife agrees. “That sounds perfect,” she says.