Editor's Note: Valentine's Day is Feb. 14 — here's the story of a happily married couple of 56 years, and their advice for a successful relationship.

CRESTVIEW — Louis and Lola Becker's story began more than a half-century ago at Vitro Systems, a longtime Eglin Air Force Base contractor.

It started simple enough: Louis' boss sent him to the motor pool to meet the newest employee. “My supervisor told me, ‘There’s a new girl coming to the motor pool to work,’” Louis said. “He said, ‘I’d like for you to meet her.’

That was all it took — "He introduced me to Lola and, as soon as I saw her, I said, ‘That’s the woman I want to live with the rest of my life,'" Louis said.

Despite love at first sight, Louis had to attract the object of his affection. “I was really bashful,” he said. “I told this other fellow I worked with, ‘I’d like to go in and speak to Lola,’ and he said, ‘OK, I’ll go with you,’ because he had some keys to drop off from time to time.

“ I finally got up the encouragement to ask her to go out a time or two,” Louis said.

Fifty-six years later, Louis and Lola Becker are still happily married.

BUILDING A LIFE

While Lola moved to Okaloosa County from Alabama in 1951, Louis — born in Santa Rosa Beach — remained close to home. “I found my love close by,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for it to be any better. The Lord has blessed me from day one.”

The couples' careers with Vitro Systems spanned 41 years.

He began as a surveyor, overseeing the company’s operations on the Air Force’s Okaloosa Island property. His crew helped maintain the property and delivered range services, including taking care of range equipment, towers and buildings, and establishing targets for ordnance tests.

Lola moved up from the motor pool, working in personnel and administration before retiring from the company’s publications section.

All along, the couple worked and built their lives together at Vitro. “We met each other there and got married,” Lola said. “We had babies and retired the same way, still working for Vitro.”

The company that brought the couple together is no longer an Eglin contractor, but it’s never far from the Beckers’ hearts. In fact, on Thursday, the couple organized a reunion lunch in Crestview for 100 people who used to work at Vitro.

SIMPLE ADVICE

Today, the couple have three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren from their daughter, Dusty; their son, Randy, gave them two grandsons.

One of their biggest joys was taking the grandchildren camping and fishing in Cherokee, N.C., where friends owned a campground with a creek running through it.

“We used to go to the mountains and volunteer at their campground park,” Lola said. “We did that for years. We’re retired from doing that. We still go up there and see them, but we don’t go up to work anymore. We just love it up there.”

So, what's the secret to a successful marriage?

"We’re pretty simple folks,” Lola said, so it really comes down to a few things.  

“Be kind to each other and talk if you got a problem,” she said. “You can’t let it go on and on. Talk it out.”

“And belong to a church,” Louis said.