Lifetime loves, dedicated marriages celebrated

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 16, 2008

NATCHEZ — It was the good times and the bad that a group of lifelong couples celebrated at St. Mary Basilica Friday night.

The church had a dinner and dance to honor the institution of marriage.

The Rev. David O’Connor said the event was planned to celebrate World Marriage Day, which was Feb. 10.

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But for O’Connor and others, the day of the celebration is not as important as the celebration itself.

“They are witnesses to God’s love and institution,” he said. “And we want them to be recognized.”

O’Connor said in an ever-changing world, many find comfort in the permanence of marriage.

The commitment of marriage is something that should not be taken lightly, O’Connor said.

And at Friday’s festivities, those who have been honoring the covenant of marriage were honored for their commitment.

Anthony and Gloria Tuccio have been married for 60 years.

“Oh, it takes a lot of hard work,” Gloria said. “You make a commitment and then you work on it together.”

Gloria, originally from Brooklyn, said she met her husband when her brother was stationed in Mississippi in the Navy.

In a fluke, her brother and her not-yet husband shared the same last name.

That sparked a long distance pen-pal relationship between Gloria and Anthony.

“In those days people wrote letters,” she said. “And that’s what we did.”

Finally, Anthony’s ship docked in New York and the two had a chance to meet.

“From there things got more serious,” she said.

The couple was married in Queens in 1948.

They eventually re-settled in Natchez, Anthony’s hometown, two years later.

But in the following 60 years the couple has had some hard times and some good times.

Gloria said when her husband worked at International Paper during strikes, the stress from work often followed him home.

“It was hard with four children,” she said.

Gloria said raising their children and then seeing their grandchildren has been immensely gratifying. But the couple has endured. “You can’t agree all the time,” she said. “But you can always work together.”

And the couple is still working today.

“He said the best part of being married is that you don’t have to look for a date every night,” Gloria said.