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Couple finds each other second time around

NATCHEZ — After cancer struck and took both Lester and Pat Smith’s previous spouses, a higher power brought them together.

Lester, who retired from the U.S. Post Office, said God saved Pat for him, because his first wife died four years after Pat’s husband died.

When The Dart landed on Pecan Way Friday afternoon, the couple was in their living room with their cats, B.J., who was rescued from the humane society, and Sugar, B.J.’s son.

“We both love to eat, travel, he is an Ole Miss fan, and we both love our cats,” Pat said.

The couple’s path to each other started 25 years ago. In their previous marriages, the couple had been acquaintances and attended the same church.

When Lester’s first wife of 40 years, Marguerite, was diagnosed with cancer, they went to a center in Tulsa, Okla. Four years later, Lafayette Netterville, Pat’s first husband of 38 years, was diagnosed with cancer and they ended up at the same center.

“We were not at the center at the same time,” Lester said. “They were both receiving different types of treatments.”

After their spouses had died, Pat needed help with her lawn mower tire, so she could mulch leaves in her yard. Pat was talking to her friend, who happened to be Lester’s sister-in-law, about the problem, and the friend sent Lester and his twin brother over to help.

“They replaced the tire, and I cooked for them,” Pat said. “It all sort of took off from there.

“He started taking me out to dinner. We have been married for 13 years, now.”

The couple has a lot in common, including a love for food and travel. They also value family and church.

The couple made a plan for the kitchen work 13 years ago, Lester said.

“I don’t cook, but I made a deal with her that if she’ll cook, I’ll clean up the kitchen,” Lester said.

When they travel, usually to Louisiana or the Gulf Coast, the couple brings their cats.

“They love traveling,” Lester said. “B.J. will put up a little fuss in the truck, but Sugar gets along OK in the truck.”

“When we get to the park, they love to look out of the RV’s window,” Pat said. “And B.J. loves to climb all over the rails.”

One wish the couple has is to travel to Las Vegas and bring the cats.

“We stopped in one time for a day,” Lester said. “But a day is not long enough to see Vegas.

“We hope to go when it cools off in the fall.”

Pat said Lester has been a wonderful husband and is very close to her two sons, who live in Natchez.

“They have taken to each other really well,” Pat said.

“They treat me like I am their own,” Lester said.

Lester said they don’t see his daughters much, since one lives in Oregon and the other in Texas, but that they have brought the RV across country to visit them — with a cat meowing the whole way. Pat also has a daughter who lives in Waveland.

The couple attends Community Chapel Church of God.

“The things most important to us are church and family,” Pat said.

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