Base Post Office couple married for 54 years, has served Moody for more than a decade

  • Published
  • By Airman Brigitte Brantley
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
In 1953, a senior from Hahira High School named Faye met an Airman from Moody named James Smith at a portable skating rink in Dasher, Ga. For more than half a century now, they have been part of the military community here and have been serving Moody Airmen since 1995 as staff at the Base Post Office.

"She fell for me," said Mr. Smith with a smile, "and we've been together ever since."

Mr. Smith works three days a week at the post office helping customers send off their mail and packages and his wife comes out to help as often as she can.

"Some of the greatest people in the world are here on Moody," said Mrs. Smith. "It's always nice to come back out and see all the people. Some don't even have post office boxes here, they just come in to visit."

The couple was married in 1954 and moved throughout the United States as the Air Force moved Mr. Smith to several different assignments and locations.

"Moving around can be tough, but that's just part of the military life," said Mrs. Smith. "You learn to overlook the bad and focus on the good, because you know you won't be in one place for too long."

The Smiths have three children, and their daughter is also in the postal business as a postmaster in Lake Park, Ga.

"One of the worst parts about military life was as the children got older, moving began to bother them," said Mrs. Smith. "When our daughter was 14, we ended up doing three back-to-back moves and watching her leave her friends was heartbreaking. So, we decided it was time settle down."

After Mr. Smith retired from the service, he moved his family back to Valdosta so they could be near his wife's family. He already had an idea of what he wanted to do as a job afterward.

"Before I retired, I took the postal exam," said Mr. Smith. "I retired in January 1970 and in April I got called for an interview by the U.S. Postal Service here in Valdosta."

It was because of that telephone call that a 22-year career began with the USPS in Valdosta. After retiring from his postal service job, he finally had some time for rest and relaxation.

Three years later, he got a phone call letting him know that the Base Post Office was accepting bids for a contractor. Mr. Smith submitted his bid and was selected for the position. Currently, he's been serving Moody members for more than 14 years.

While working at the post office, they have both come to care about their customers.

"My heart just goes out to the young Airmen I see coming through here, the ones about to deploy overseas," said Mrs. Smith. "We always have our prayer time for them."

Although the Smiths do spend time focusing on the people they serve, they also put plenty of time into working on their relationship with one another.

Over the years, their marriage has gotten stronger because of the extra time they spend with each other without the stressors of parenting three children.

"We're closer now than we've ever been, "said Mrs. Smith. "We love our children, but it's easier with them not living at home, because we can spend more time focusing on our relationship."

Both of them agree that both perseverance and communication are factors that helped their marriage last for so long.

"After 54 years, we've never even separated," said Mrs. Smith. "We went into our marriage with the intent of making it work, and there was no option for divorce. Working at it is a daily thing, but it's worth it."

Her husband agrees that effort and willingness to compromise play a key role in their successful marriage.

"There are always the challenges, always the ups and downs," said Mr. Smith. "It takes some give and take to make a marriage work. Just sit down and figure out the problems."

Mrs. Smith agrees that meeting in the middle can be a very important part of the process.

"No matter what the problem is, you have to be willing to work it out," she said. "There are two sides to every situation."

Although, Mr. Smith is thinking of retiring soon, Moody personnel can look forward to a conversation with him and his wife, two people who are proof that communication and determination are what it takes to make a marriage work.