In a day when marriages begin and end with the greatest of ease, Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher are a rarity. The James City, N.C., husband and wife have been wed 85 years and hold the Guinness World Record for the longest marriage of a living couple.
Banners and signs celebrating that record decorate the front lawn of their ranch-style home. They’ve captured the attention of newspapers, magazines and websites everywhere. And just recently, they received a signed commendation from President Obama with a promise of an official invitation to the White House to meet him.
The hoopla over their accomplishment doesn’t faze them at all. Zelmyra, 101, scorns the idea that there’s some secret to the longevity of their marriage. “No secrets,” she says. “There isn’t any secret. It was only God that kept us together.”
Herbert, 104, is amazed at their longevity. “I didn’t know I would be married this long,” he says. The retired Coca-Cola Bottling Co. mechanic still has a sharp mind, though his hearing is failing. Revered as a hard-working husband and father, Herbert built the family home in 1942, and he and his wife still reside there. His diligence and aggressive saving paid for the college educations of the couple’s five children. They also have 10 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren.