Craig couple celebrates 53 years of marriage

Statistics show that today when people get married there's a 50-50 chance the marriage will last.

This fact amazes James and Edna Thomas, who celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary this week.

"Today a couple has their first fight and they head straight for divorce court," James Thomas said. "We've experienced some bumps and bruises, but it's been a wonderful 53 years."

Edna agreed.

"It's been great," she said. "We've had a good marriage. Sure we had our share of problems, but we always worked them out."

Edna, who was raised in Montana, came to visit her aunt and uncle in Craig when she was teenager.

Little did she know that more than 50 years later she would still be living in the community.

It was during her visit to Craig that she became smitten with James and on April 12, 1949, the couple was married.

Edna said her move was difficult for her father.

"I was the first girl in the family to leave home," she said. "That was a sad day for my father."

Edna's father was also a little skeptical of her decision.

"You know dads," she said. "They never think anyone is good enough for their daughter. They liked Jimmy, they just didn't know if I should move with him to Colorado."

But the move was a successful one for Edna.

The Thomases owned an automotive radiator shop in Craig for 35 years until they sold it in 1992.

James and Edna say they have seen many changes in Craig.

"When I first moved here they had no paved streets and there was mud everywhere," she said.

The town has grown significantly, she said.

"I don't like all of the changes," she said. "People used to seem friendlier, but then again, we knew everyone. Now we don't know anybody when we go downtown but that could be because of our age."

Edna said she is happy they spent their entire marriage in Craig and said they have no intentions of spending the remainder of their marriage anywhere else.

"Craig is a nice place to live," she said. "I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. I have no desire to live in Arizona."

James and Edna have two children, Doug and Terry, and three grandchildren, Shane, Ashley and Cody.

For their anniversary James and Edna's children surprised them with a dinner and a suite at the Holiday Inn of Craig.

When the couple returned to their room after dinner, the room was filled with flowers courtesy of local businesses and pictures from their wedding.

"It was a wonderful surprise," James said. "I think everyone was in on it. I can't believe they kept it a secret."

Edna said she just wants to enjoy the rest of her years with her husband.

"We just want to keep being happy," she said. "We've been together a long time."

James said he plans on celebrating many more anniversaries.

"Our goal is to make 65," James said.

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