70 years together

Bill and Nita Faye Reynolds have been married 70 years.

Bill and Nita Faye Reynolds have been married 70 years.

By MICHELLE BROOKS

Democrat staff

Bill Reynolds was in the Missouri River bottom pitching wheat to a threshing machine with other Jamestown teenagers when Nita Faye arrived on horse bringing water.

It was 1939 and Reynolds’ father recently had relocated his country doctor practice from Kirksville. Nita Faye’s family had been in the area for generations.

“She found me in the wheat field,” Bill joked of his wife of 70 years today.

Their first date was to the Moniteau County Fair, to which neither had been before, and they didn’t spend much money, they recalled.

He gave her a ring on Nita Faye’s 16th birthday.

But it was Oct. 2, 1943, before they married in Kansas City, where Nita Faye worked at the defense plant until the end of World War II.

Bill joined the Merchant Marines in May 1945, but was discharged by July due to health issues.

Yet, he was drafted in August and sent to Korea in 1946.

Nita Faye moved back with her parents in Jamestown and commuted to work at the social security office in Jefferson City.

Nine months after Bill’s last visit before being sent to Korea, Nita Faye mailed him the birth certificate for their first child, Larry. And the government sent him home.

They added to their family, but again found themselves without income.

After a year of Bill working odd jobs, the couple returned to Kansas City, where his lifetime career took shape.

Working at General Motors, Bill picked up schooling for body and fender repair.

Seven years later, the couple and their children returned to Jamestown and bought the farm they would live on for the next 40 years.

The land had been her grandfather’s and had been in the family for century at that time. And now their daughter Joyce Shaul lives there. And their other daughter Betty Fowler lives on the farm owned by Nita Faye’s parents.

“I never accumulated much in my lifetime, but I accumulated three good kids,” Bill said.

The couple also has ten grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

For 35 years, Bill worked at Putnam Chevrolet. He also served on the Jamestown school board.

In 1978, Bill took up the hobby of building grandfather clocks. He completed his 50th in 2004. Many were gifts to family, others were built on request, and at least two were donated to local causes.

Nita Faye was known for her quilting.

“I wish I had kept count of my quilts,” Nita Faye said as she proudly held a notebook chronicling all of Bill’s clocks.

She also enjoyed working outside the home, including 18 years at Shelter Insurance in Columbia.

They held leadership roles in the church, first as Baptists and later as Methodists. At times, they were known to be outspoken about their convictions.

Nita Faye, 89, was an only child and Bill, 90, had six siblings.

“We’re just regular folks who went through life, whatever it handed us,” Nita Faye said.

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