Longtime Steamboat residents celebrate 70th wedding anniversary
November 26, 2011
Steamboat Springs — A fire crackled in Lloyd and Annabeth Lockhart's living room Wednesday night as they described how they've stuck together as a couple for seven decades.
"I would say if there is a secret to staying together, it's just to keep talking to each other, to keep up communications," Lloyd said. "But I don't think that's any secret. We never had any trouble. We had a good life, and we got married early."
The longtime Steamboat Springs residents celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary Nov. 20 as they typically do: with a family dinner. They gathered again Saturday with family and friends to mark the occasion and reminisce, and there is a lot for them to remember.
Annabeth, 89, still recalls the first time she set eyes on Lloyd, 90, at Steamboat Springs High School.
"I had a girlfriend who said there was a cute new boy in town, and if we could walk a certain direction, she would show him to me," she said. "So we walked that way, and we saw Lloyd. It was the first time I ever saw him."
A couple of years later, their marriage was tested early when radio chatter from Pearl Harbor finally made it to their car on Rabbit Ears Pass.
Just out of high school, the Lockharts were married in Steamboat in 1941 in front of a small gathering of family and friends and an 8 mm film camera. It wasn't a lavish wedding, the couple said, because the United States was just coming out of a depression. A little more than two weeks later, the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor instantly changed the country just after the Lockharts returned to the Yampa Valley from their honeymoon in Black Hills, S.D.
Lloyd said he hoped to resist the draft because of his new marriage but eventually was called to serve in a heavy artillery battalion of the U.S. Army.
"We had a rough time early just like all young people back then," Lloyd said.
But until Lloyd went overseas, the
couple did everything they could to stay together.
And despite the expenses, Annabeth moved and followed Lloyd from base to base across the country.
"I traveled to his bases in Oregon and Missouri," she said. "We stayed together as long as we could then. It wasn't easy because the Army didn't pay for me to do that."
Shortly after Lloyd left the military in 1946, the Lockharts moved back to Steamboat Springs to start their family.
They bought F.M. Light & Sons from Annabeth's father, Clarence Light, in 1963 as they raised their two children, Ty and Del, who now own and run the store.
A new bond
Lloyd said it was the birth of those two boys in Steamboat that helped to strengthen and cement their marriage.
"Of course, what makes a nice family is having some kids. That's the joy in life," Lloyd said. "That was the big thing was having a good family relationship."
"You're self-centered until you have children; then everything changes to them," Annabeth added.
Ty said that his father has remained one of his best friends throughout his life and that he was fortunate to have his parents so close.
"We do quite a bit as a family," he said. "And when we were growing up, we'd leave to go camping after (F.M. Light & Sons) closed on Saturday night. I think camping is one of the better things we did to create a bond."
He added that his parents also were involved heavily in school activities.
Looking back on their time in Steamboat, Lloyd and Annabeth said their drive to stay together, which intensified after Lloyd was drafted and sent to fight in Europe during World War II, never faded, especially after their family grew in Steamboat.
"I think we're part of each other now after 70 years," Annabeth said.
"We do everything together. We're never separated."
— To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com