In 1934, William Fullwood, a baseball player in the Negro Leagues married Willie Mae, a teacher in a one-room school in Georgia. She initially rejected him because of their three-year age gap. But they did eventually marry and went on to have eight children, 23 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
Today William is 98, and Willie Mae is 101. Seventy-five years after they tied the know, they are still together and share a room at the Mount Laurel Center for Rehabilitation in New Jersey. Their story proves that love can endure everything. Willie Mae used to reject him, but William kept coming back. Then one day, she called him and told him she was ready to get married.
It took a while, but William won her over. Their eldest son, Earnest Fullwood, is now 59 years old. He says that their love story is the real deal.
Fullwood says of his parents’ relationship, “They are truly in love. They don’t ever have a bad thing, and they are always cheerful and never cranky or moody. They say they are blessed to wake up each morning.”
“My parents are the sweetest couple you ever want to see,” he added.
The couple is healthy considering their advanced age. William only recently stopped driving his car.
William and Willie Mae met in Dublin, Georgia. She was a religious woman, so William had to be good. He was young and handsome and playing baseball. When he stopped playing, they moved to Florida where William worked at military bases. When the work in Florida dried up, he got into farming. They ended up migrating to New Jersey in the 1950s.
Willie Mae was a housewife who loved gardening and sewing. Earnest says his father was blessed to find her.
When Willie Mae started having difficulty walking, she was sent to Mount Laurel. For a year, William drove back and forth, until he was convinced by his children to stay in the center with his wife.
They made arrangements with the rehabilitation center so that the couple could be in the same room. Their children had been trying to get William to go into assisted living or a nursing home and sell their house, but William resisted because he wanted to do things his way.
The staff at the rehab center has become close to the couple. The staff organized a joint birthday party for the couple, and all but two family members were able to join the celebration. The couple were so happy to see their family again.
Good genes for a long life runs in the family. Willie Mae had two sisters who lived until their 90s. The couple have been members of the Second Baptist Church of Moorestown, and their faith has played a huge part in the success of their marriage.
William and Willie Mae are completely devoted to each other and take good care of one another.
Annie Kline, one of the occupational therapists that works with them, is very fond of the couple. Willie Mae is warm and friendly, while William is more reserved but always a gentleman and very charming.