Anyone who does not believe young love can last should meet Milton and Becky Muehring of Hannibal, Mo., who just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

Anyone who does not believe young love can last should meet Milton and Becky Muehring of Hannibal, Mo., who just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

Milton Muehring and Becky Forney were married June 4, 1944, when both were 17 years old.

Asked her advice for many years of married bliss, Becky was quick to respond: “The number one thing is, the family needs to know the Lord and raise their children that way.”

Also, she added, “never go to bed angry.”

Their family includes two sons, Steve and his wife, Linda; and Jeff and his wife, Cathy, along with Steve’s sons, Paul, Joshua and Jacob, all of Hannibal.

“We are very thankful for our two great sons,” Becky said.

Milton and Becky met at Muehring’s Grocery, Milton’s grandfather’s store at 3914 Market St. in Oakwood. This is now the site of the F&M Bank.

They were about 16 years old, Becky said, and were introduced by his cousin, Marjorie Gundling, who has been her best friend for many years.

Their wedding was performed by the legendary Brother Johnnie Golden, who officiated at hundreds of local weddings. Gundling and Glen McClenning were their attendants.

Being only 17, both Becky and Milton needed their parents’ permission to marry. This was granted by his parents, John and Mildred Muehring; and her dad, Elmer Forney. Her mother, Anna Forney, was deceased.


Milton was in the U.S. Army and soon left to serve overseas. He was stationed in Germany with the U.S. occupation forces after World War II.


Bought the Muehring store


Early in their marriage, Milton and Becky bought Muehring’s Grocery, with his parents’ financial help.

In addition to food, she said, “we had a little bit of everything, (including) hardware.”

She added that they were open on Sunday and sliced their own lunchmeats, so the store was popular with people who stopped in for an easy meal on Sunday after church.

The store was known for its homemade ice cream, she said, and later when Bud’s Golden Cream opened on U.S. 61, that hurt their ice cream business.

Then when the A&P Supermarket opened in downtown Hannibal, it contributed to the store’s closing, along with other “mom and pop” stores around town, Becky said.

Ten years after their wedding, Milton and Becky built their home on Henderson Street, where they have lived for the past 60 years.

When it was constructed, the Courier-Post published a story about it, because of its unique design. The living room has a cathedral ceiling and large fireplace. It was a pink house then, Becky recalled.

Becky worked at the local gas company, which was Citizens Gas when she began and later operated under other names.

She retired there after 35 years.

Milton retired from serving as a weight inspector for the Missouri State Highway Patrol for many years.

When she worked, Milton’s mother babysat. They had a busy life, Becky said. “It wasn’t easy, because I worked.

“Milton came from a family that always had a huge garden,” she said, so they did, too. Each summer, she canned green beans, tomatoes and other produce, and she froze corn and strawberries.

The family took vacations every year, Becky said. “We loved to go to Colorado, and when we retired, we went to Florida. We did that for 13 years.”


Always active in church


“We have always been active in church,” Becky said. “We went to church a lot,” at first to Arch Street United Methodist Church (now Arch UMC).

For the past 30 years they have been members of the First Church of the Nazarene, where she is a former Sunday school teacher. Milton is on the church board and was missionary president for several years, then head usher, she explained. “Most of our friends are at church.”

They also enjoy going out to eat, especially to the Hannibal Nutrition Center.

Milton suffered a stroke on April 1 of this year and has since recovered and come home.

After his stroke, he had rehab in three places, University Hospital in Columbia, Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Ill. and Beth-Haven Nursing Home in Hannibal.

“At all three he had excellent care,” Becky said.

Now Milton is home and continuing to regain his health. He is walking with the help of a cane or walker.

Earlier, Milton and Becky were both active volunteers with the Hannibal Regional Hospital Auxiliary and had been honored.

Now she is busy taking care of Milton, she said, but she is still knitting baby afghans for the hospital.

Their roles in their marriage have changed for now, she added. “He’s always been the head of the household, and since his stroke, I’m the boss,” she joked.