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Love of a lifetime

Sandy Springs couple celebrates 75th wedding anniversary

SSC 1020 Sandy Springs 75th anniversary.jpeg

Harold and Louise Banister, of Sandy Springs, are celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary on Nov. 28, 2022. They are 94 and 91 years old and met in Williamston, South Carolina. 

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — It’s been more than 75 years since Harold Banister sent his future wife a note asking her out on a date, but he says they are more in love than ever. 

Harold, 94, and Louise Young Banister, 91, live in Sandy Springs. However, their story began on July 6, 1947, in Williamston, South Carolina. World War II had ended two years prior. 

At the time, Harold said sugar was the last commodity to be removed from rationing, gasoline was 13 cents a gallon and the average annual income was $2,854. He added that an average new car cost about $1,290, while an average new house cost $6,550. 

The South was covered by family farms, and gospel songs were all the hype. On the Sunday afternoon the couple met, Harold said he talked a friend into hitch-hiking 8 miles north from his hometown in Belton to Williamston, South Carolina, to attend a gospel singing at the local high school. 

Louise and her friend arrived late, and as they looked around the school’s gymnasium for a seat, Harold said he convinced his friend to give his up and entertain the other girl. Harold wasted no time asking Louise for a date. But, to get rid of him, she told him that she never considered dating a boy unless he asked her in writing. Not expecting to hear from him, Louise gave Harold her address. 

She found a letter in her mailbox two days later. 

Harold said he believes what happened next was like God arranging them on a blind date. While Louise looked over the letter with her mother and younger sister on their front porch one day trying to decide what to do next, one of Harold’s relatives happened to stop by for a visit. 

After a few minutes of conversation, Louise’s mother asked the relative if she knew Harold. She replied with an emphatic “yes” and a positive recommendation. Harold received the girl’s reply the following Thursday. It was a “yes,” with directions to her house and a time – Saturday, July 12, 1947, at 6 p.m.

Harold said he would have walked, if necessary, but he and another high school classmate who owned a car and his girlfriend ended up going on a double date. The date went so well, Harold said, that Louise told him he could come back the next Saturday. 

Harold bought a used car that same week and proceeded to visit Louise every Saturday for four months, which is when they married. They sold the car to purchase furniture. Shortly before their fourth wedding anniversary, however, Harold was drafted into the Korean War. 

Louise supported him during that time, moving to Mississippi and other states just to be with him. As Harold rose through the ranks, so did Louise in her various jobs. After many years, Harold left the Air Force to spend the next 52 years working at IBM. 

Today, the couple’s son, Mark, lives 11 miles from their home in Sandy Springs, and they are looking forward to celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary on Nov. 28. 

Harold says Louise is the prettiest 91-year-old he’s ever seen. 

“We believe God had something to do with our meeting and the life He has given us,” Harold said. “I had been to Louise’s hometown on business but never socially. Why that Sunday? Why did the relative show up while the letter was being discussed? Only God knows.” 

Allen Jackson, senior pastor at Dunwoody Baptist Church, said he’s known the couple for almost 35 years. He described them as “incredibly sweet” and “just magical.” The church plans to honor Harold and Louise at the 8:30 a.m. service the Sunday before their anniversary. 

“If any of us make 75 years old, it’s sort of a mile marker, but to be married 75 years and still be in love,” Jackson said. “It’s apparent that they’re still in love. They defer to each other. They finish each other’s sentences. It’s just adorable.” 

Jackson said Harold visits the church every Monday morning to deliver a spreadsheet of its attendance, patterns and trends for the week. He joked that it’s hard for anyone to get any work done when he’s in the office, because they all love talking to him. 

He thinks what’s helped Harold and Louise’s marriage last for so long is their faithful spirit. Jackson also said that Harold is a good listener and a great friend. 

“I would definitely say that his faith is a big part of his steadiness in marriage and work, life, all of it,” Jackson said.

Reach Chamian Cruz at 770-847-8079. Follow her on Twitter @xchamian.