The Love Story of Jack and Charlene

Jack and Charlene

Here, in Jack’s own words, is how the day of their wedding began:

“It was a cold, wet day on January 13, 1947, on a Monday morning that I drove from our home on Eagle Creek to Charlene’s home to get her.  Then we went to John and Reba Bradley’s home near Junction.  They were going with us to Morganfield, Kentucky, to witness our wedding.  I had a 1939 Ford car which had over a 100,000 miles showing.  No telling how many times the speedometer had been run back.  It was the last year that Ford had placed the shift lever on top of the transmission extending from the floor.  For some reason that I can’t remember, Charlene and I went through Equality on our way to get John and Reba.  When we went to approach Route 13, I hit the shifting lever to put it in second gear, and the shifting lever came out of the transmission and fell in the floor on Charlene’s side of the car.  By this time I was out on the highway.  The transmission had shifted into second gear before the lever came out or at the same time.  I thought about driving on to John and Reba’s in second gear, then I noticed the entrance to Pekin Coal Mine, so I turned in.   I picked up the shift lever and put it back down in the transmission.  I held the clutch pedal down and started the engine and gently shifted from second to first gear.  It worked okay, so we went on our way.  Every time I had to shift, I did it gently.”

Jack and Charlene Martin

Jack and Charlene raised three children together over their 50-some years together.   She had a stroke and for many years Jack was a gentle and loving caretaker before she went home to be with their Lord, leaving Jack behind.

Here are Darla’s words of her father-in-law’s care for his wife while she was in the nursing home:

“Jack was always so kind….he loved and cared for her until the end.  One day I was sitting in the sunroom at Fountain View with him and her, and he was taking lotion and dotting a Kleenex with lotion, working at getting the dry skin off of her face.  It was like time had stopped for a second.  And when I looked around, everyone was watching..a nurse, other visitors and residents of the nursing home. It was right then that I knew why she was still here (because at this time in her life she had lost her speech).  So others could see Jesus’ love through Jack Martin caring for his wife. “

I loved Charlene Martin and I love Jack Martin.  They were one of the best examples of God’s plan for marriage that I have ever seen; as well as two of the best examples of the word Christian.

And they were one heck of an example of a great love story!

My Sis and Her New Hubby… 1973

Darla - March 31, 1973

Way back on March 31, 1973, my sister and her boyfriend were married.  Bill Rister was just beginning to try his hand at picture-taking, so he was pressed into service for the photos.

Dad and Darla coming down the aisle

It was a hard-earned wedding since Mom and Dad weren’t particularly fond of Dave.  He had long hair and played in a band and lived in Jane Strong’s basement.  It must have helped that he cut his hair.

Jack Hall was the minister.

Here are some of Darla’s words about being married:

It was March 31, 1973.   I was a senior in high school.  The Monday morning that followed that weekend I found myself in Geography class being called on to write my name on the blackboard as an example for some illustration.  I didn’t write Darla Rutherford (who I had been for the past 17 years) I wrote Darla Martin.  I had gotten married that weekend at the First Baptist Church in Shawneetown.  Some memorable things I will never forget:  My colors were centered around my best friend’s prom dress that she was going to wear for the bridesmaid dress, my wedding dress was rented, my cake was bought at the IGA bakery, and the person that was supposed to sing cancelled at the last minute and the piano player sang “Color My World”.  (As I’m writing this…I’m wondering where my sister was…that is a mystery to me).  Now, 39 years later….I love this man more than I did the day I married him.  He loves Jesus, loves his wife, and loves his family.

Churnie and Amy Rutherford, Darla and Dave Martin, Charlene and Jack Martin

Nancy Strong was Darla’s best friend… and this is her prom/wedding dress.

Nancy as the lovely maid of honor

Dennis Charleton and Mom

Not sure who the young boy is, but the other two are Dave's mom and dad

My Mom was escorted down the aisle by Dave’s friend, Dennis.  As I look at these pictures, I realize my Mom was 53 and my Dad was just 49.

These pics have been in a small album, that is now falling apart at the seams, since 1973.  Some of the pictures tore as I was trying to remove them.  You can see the ghost-like discoloration on them.

The very next month my daughter, Keely, was born, so I was very pregnant at this time.  It’s not like me to keep a low profile no matter how huge I would have been, so I can only surmise that Darla did not want the bulging belly being seen!!  But I looked very spiffy in my maternity dress with my hair all curled.  Yes, Darla, I was there.

I love the pictures of Dave and Darla feeding each other cake.  They look so prim and proper!

I can't get over how little that cake looks!

She should have taken a class on how to feed cake to your husband


The happy married couple... just a couple of kids

The newlyweds with their Maid of Honor Nancy Strong and Best man David Dortch