HURLBURT FIELD — Chaplain Col. (retired) Walter and Ikie Beamon celebrated their golden anniversary Saturday at the Hurlburt Field Soundside Club surrounded by more than 250 family members and friends.
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The Beamons and their guests were serenaded by The Wesley Boys gospel harmony quartet, the First United Methodist Church of Crestview bell choir, and a solo rendition of "The Lord's Prayer" performed by Dorothy Washington of Shaw Temple A.M.E. Zion Church in Atlanta.
Col. Beamon is a retired former associate pastor at First United Methodist, where the Sunday school class instructed by the couple is the largest in the church.
The evening's Master of Ceremonies, the Rev. Oledia Bell, said the couple met at a school dance at Tougaloo College in Mississippi during Ikie Beamon's sophomore year.
"She had told God she would have anyone he sent her but she didn't want a preacher ... and then came this guy who couldn't even dance fast," Bell said.
Walter Beamon graduated with a biology degree in 1960 and taught school for several years. He graduated from the Virginia Union School of Theology in 1969.
Ikie Beamon, a retired registered nurse, followed her husband when, as the Air Force Chaplains Service's ninth black chaplain in its 69-year history, he was transferred to South Korea.
During Saturday's celebration, Chaplain Col. (ret.) Robert Jemerson, senior pastor at Second Baptist Church in San Antonio, led the Beamons in renewing their wedding vows.
As church and Air Force friends offered tributes to the couple, Chaplain Col. (ret.) John Blair likened the Beamons to TV's Jeffersons.
"Since they were from Mississippi, they had their piece of the pie, but unlike the Jeffersons, fish would fry in their kitchen and beans would burn on their grill," Blair said to laughter.
While thanking their guests for sharing in their celebration, Pastor Beamon offered some advice for a long, happy marriage.
"The best way to stay married this long is to learn this phrase: 'Yes, dear,'" he said.
As the evening concluded and guests departed, "Movin' On Up," "The Jeffersons" theme song, played over the sound system.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.