By Nicole Davis
Sometimes, love happens at first sight. Other times, two people begin as friends long before there is romance. Or, a friend may serve as cupid for a couple who didn’t think they had anything in common only to wind up happily married for more than 50 years today. The following Center Grove couples tell their own story of how they met their spouse, when sparks flew and how they keep their marriage alive after five decades.
Happy Valentine’s Day from Center Grove ICON!
Tom and Mary Kay Anthony
Tom Anthony was the first person Mary Kay met when she arrived at the University of Indianapolis as a freshman in 1961. He was a sophomore, volunteering to carry the freshmen girls’ luggage to their dorm rooms.
“He said he liked my smile, my dimples,” Mary Kay said. “He zeroed in on me right away.”
He asked her out on a date a couple times over the next few years, but Mary Kay kept turning him down. They were good acquaintances, but never dated.
“He was Mr. Popularity,” Mary Kay said. “I preferred the brainy guys. I just didn’t think he was my type.”
It wasn’t until the second semester of her junior and his senior year that they went on their first date. The Sadie Hawkins dance was coming up and unbeknownst to Mary Kay, her friend invited Tom to the dance and signed Mary Kay’s name on the invitation.
“I did not tell him that I had not invited him,” Mary Kay said. “I couldn’t do that. A couple days later he said we should get to know each other a little better. He invited me to a really swanky restaurant in Indianapolis and we went to a movie afterwards. I had such a good time, I realized we had more in common than I thought. He was really close to his family and I liked that. He was really funny and interesting. I misjudged him.”
Mary Kay said Tom jokes about it by saying she didn’t have enough education to realize the prize he was until her junior year.
Tom and Mary Kay Anthony, Center Grove residents, married in 1965. They have two daughters and four grandchildren.
Tom and Mary Kay continue to share their love for family, traveling and volunteer service. Tom is retired as a State Farm agent. Mary Kay retired after 30 years at teaching including 17 years with Center Grove. They continue to stay busy as active members of the Kiwanis Club of Greenwood, ringing bells for the Salvation Army during the Christmas season, cooking hot meals for 80 people once a month as part of Greenwood United Methodist Church’s outreach mission, The Shepherd’s Table.
Mary Kay is on the South Group Board of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Association, chairman of the missions committee at their church, president of the Kiwanis Club of Greenwood and is youth protection manager for the Indiana District of Kiwanis. He helped start Greenwood’s Meals on Wheels in 1974 and Greenwood Senior Citizens program in 1975, both of which are still active. Tom has served as a hospice volunteer, is the risk manager for the Indiana District of Kiwanis and finance chair and an usher at their church.
“We don’t do everything together, but everything we do is in terms of giving back in some way or another,” Mary Kay said. “It’s made it easy, the marriage. We’ve had our moments. But we share the same values. We’ve been married for 56 years so I guess something was right.”
Larry and Becky Davis
Larry and Becky Davis met in the eighth grade and even briefly dated in high school in Washington, Ind. But after graduating from Washington High School in 1964, they went their separate ways.
Larry served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, stationed in Southeast Asia working in intelligence. Becky attended Indiana University.
When Larry returned from service, he and Becky reunited.
“We enjoyed each other’s company and it went from there,” Becky said.
They married in May of 1970 and moved to Greenwood that year.
Upon returning home from his military service, Larry finished his bachelor’s degree in accounting and political science at Indiana University. Becky had earned a bachelor’s degree of music in voice and music education from Jacobs School of Music at IU and a master’s degree in music in voice from Jordan College of Music at Butler University.
Becky describes Larry as low-key, funny, honest, considerate of others and always willing to help. She is the more artsy of the two. They were both career-driven, and lifelong supporters of teachers and education. Larry started his career as an auditor and retired as CFO from the Indiana State Teachers Association. Becky is a retired teacher, having spent the longest part of her career at Greenwood Community High School where she was choral director.
The couple enjoy spending time with their daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. Their common interests include sports – especially tennis and baseball, theater and the arts. Becky said their fondest memories are of their many travels. They’ve taken several trips to Europe with friends, to New York to attend Broadway shows, to the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament and five years ago, purchased an RV to travel the U.S.
“I never thought I would do that,” laughed Becky. “I couldn’t see myself driving down the highway in one of those big things. But we got an RV and have been traveling the country now … many of our great memories of our daughter growing up are taking her on trips. That’s important to us.”
Both are also active volunteers in the community. They are supporters of the Indianapolis Symphony, Children’s Museum, Newfield’s, Red Door and the Indianapolis Zoo.
“We enjoy a lot of the same things,” Becky said. “That’s important.”
Larry was recently inducted in the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). He is a member of the Indianapolis Kiwanis and American Legion, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Indiana CPA Society. Becky is a member of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Association South Group and past member of Psi Iota Xi Sorority and Greenwood Women’s Club.
They were supposed to go to Hawaii with their family in 2020 to celebrate their 50th anniversary, but the trip got postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They look forward to taking that trip once it’s safe to travel.
Dr. George and Carole Small
Early into Dr. George and Carole Small’s relationship, at 16 years old, George told Carole that he had two goals in life: to marry her and to become a physician.
“I told her that she was going to be a physician’s wife,” he said. “She should just count on that. So, I made it happen.”
Carole said, “We were kids, teenagers. I thought ‘oh my gosh, is he for real, asking me this soon to get married someday?’ But it held up.”
The couple initially met in seventh grade at Whiteland Middle School, though they didn’t start dating until their junior year. Their first date was on a snowy winter night in December 1961. George was driving his parent’s 1953 Green Nash Rambler, traveling south on U.S. 31 to the Artcraft Theater in Franklin. The car broke down and the new couple had to push the highway across the street to the service station on the corner, then walk to the theater where they watched Journey to the Center of the Earth twice before the car repair was finished. Carole laughed that they never watched that movie again, but she can still remember how cold that walk had been.
The couple dated for six years prior to getting married in June of 1965. They will celebrate 56 years of marriage this June.
George finished undergrad at Franklin College, graduated from Indiana University Medical School in 1969 and did his internship at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie. Carole worked full-time at Eli Lilly during the day and attended Indiana Central College and IU Extension evening classes.
They moved to Greenwood and started their own family medical practice, Dr. George Robert Small Jr, M.D., in May 1970. Carole did the office work and bookkeeping. They worked together for 49 years, retiring in August 2019.
George and Carole have two children and five grandchildren. They are longtime members of Greenwood United Methodist Church and said their faith has been the foundation of their lives. They both enjoy volunteering in committees at church and service organizations such as the Kiwanis. They enjoy hiking, sailing and birding – eagle watching.
Still early into their retirement, George and Carole said they’re keeping themselves busy with housework.
“We have enjoyed it one day at a time and we will continue to do that,” George said.
Carole stated, “We hold fast to the adage of ‘live well – love much – laugh often.’”