I had the opportunity to interview this couple and I was met with warmth, humor and a deep appreciation of God.
The Dees celebrated 58 years of marriage this past Saturday at Greater Union Baptist Church where they have been members for ____ years.
Deacon Dees, who is an emotional man, began to tell their story. “We met in high school,” he began. She was a majorette and I was in the band. She was just twisting,” he laughed. “She was a pretty
Black girl, but for some reason she just didn’t like me.” “You know, when you see all of the girls just flocking behind one gentleman?” she chimes in. I just sat back and said ummhumm—that’s mine right there.” I just waited. I just played hard to get,” she said.
They started dating in 1946. In 1951, after graduating from high school, Deacon entered the military to begin his career. “After basic training, I was in the Infantry. Then they sent us to Germany first. Over there, things were good. We wore tailor made uniforms. No Army issue there.” He beams. “But I HAVE TO SAY, God has been good to me. I was in the military 22 years and never saw combat. Never saw a war” We were an all-Black Unit. Then we were integrated and they sent the First Infantry Division to war, which was happening in Viet Nam.”
Back home, Mrs., Dees became a Master Cosmetologist and went to school at Rosanna Academy on Cervantes and B Street. “ I fixed hair and was a seamstress. She then joined her new husband in Germany where in 1956 she began making their family. “I had my fist child in 1956. Our first two sons were born in Germany.” She said. The Dees were quick to add that they were never separated during his time in the service. “That’s why I say God has been so good to me.”
During his military career, they traveled to Germany, Japan and his last duty station was in Alaska. “I repaired missiles in Alaska,” said Deacon Dees. I went to school for a year in Reston Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama to learn how to repair missiles. When asked how they liked
Alaska, they both replied “We loved it.” “It was an experience. The cold weather was different than here.” Said Mrs. Dees.
May 31, 1973 marked his end to the military. “I came back home and got a job at PJC and remained there for 19 years as Department Head of the mailroom and supply for all three campuses.” “I worked myself up to the position,” he said.
Mrs. Dees was never a total stay at home mom. “During our travels overseas, I had my own business. I had a Black Salon in Japan. I was the only Black business they say, in the Far East. Ladies from Korea, Philippines and surrounding areas would could come to Camp Zama, Japan to get their hair done,” she said
“Every successful man has to have a good lady. He can’t make it by himself. We’ve been so blessed. “ said Deacon Dees.
“We couldn’t afford a wedding when we first got married, so now that we made it this far, we decided to have the wedding we dreamed of.” “I tell you, God has been good to me,” said Deacon Dees.
From this dynamic marriage came five children; Brenda Smith, Joya Henderson, Sylvia Graham, Sidney H Dees III and Alfred Joseph Dees.
When asked what has kept their marriage together Mrs. Dees replied “Love, communication and commitment,” “You’ve got to love them and want to make it work. Marriage is work. Of course you are going to get on each other’s nerves at times, but that’s normal. You must have love.”
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