CAMP SPRINGS — Dorothy and Darrell Bush, a loving couple and active community members who have touched the lives of many people around them, celebrated their 75th anniversary on Tuesday, Oct. 23.
Seventy-five years ago, Darrell, originally from Pennsylvania, moved to Camp Springs at the age of 14 to live with someone from his hometown. Meanwhile, Dorothy was from Camp Springs, which back then was a small farming community. Born and raised in Bells United Methodist Church on Allentown Road, she had started teaching Sunday School as a teenager and met Darrell when she was 17.
“I left home when I was 14 so I came down here,” Darrell said. “I was stationed with this family, and there was another boy in the house with me, and he said ‘Would you whistle for that girl?’ I said ‘Sure I’ll whistle at her for you.’ Then I changed my mind, and I said ‘No, I’m going to whistle for her for myself.’”
From there, it was the start of a long and happy relationship.
“We just met each other,” Dorothy said. “He came from Pennsylvania to stay with a lady from his hometown. They lived by my grandmothers’ store. We just kind of crossed paths and were attracted to each other.”
The two were married on October 23, 1943, when Dorothy was 17-years-old and Darrell was 18-years-old. Unfortunately, they didn’t get to stay by each other’s side for very long.
At the time, the world had delved into chaos and was in the middle of World War II. Darrell joined the service that November and was shipped overseas in December where he stayed for two years and fought in The Battle of the Bulge, the biggest battle of World War II.
“He left the 10th of December for the war, The Second World War, and he was wounded in The Battle of the Bulge,” said Dorothy. “The government man came to my house and told me he was missing in action because he was wounded trying to save two of his friends that were shot.”
He was shot in the leg and it was hours before he was found lying in the snow. The Battle of the Bulge ended a couple of days later. He received the Purple Heart for being wounded, and a Bronze Star for saving lives and a medal from the French Legion for helping to liberate France.
The war ended in 1945, and Darrell stayed and helped with the occupation of Germany until 1946. Then he finally returned home to his wife.
“I think when I saw him come in through the door, that was the happiest moment of my life,” Dorothy said.
After the war, Darrell worked for Pepco for over 30 years. The two had a daughter named Linda who died in her 30s from cancer. They were very active members of Bethany Christian Church where Darrell worked on the property committee cutting the grass for many years and still helps with much of the upkeep of the church, Dorothy played keyboard at many local events, such as the holiday bazaars at the church. They also ran a youth program for 30 years.
To celebrate their 75th anniversary, their family and friends held a celebration for them Bethany Christian Church on Saturday, Oct. 20. People came from all over the country, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida and more, to celebrate the couple who had touched their lives in one way or another.
“I don’t think I’d be where I am without them,” said their grandson Ben Ryerson who came from Atlanta to celebrate with them. “They have been very supportive of me my whole life. I love them more than anything.”
Susan Dickerson, who regards Darrell and Dorothy as a second mother and father after her own father died, said it’s a “blessing to see people love this long.”
“I feel like we inspire each other,” Dickerson said. “We fill the void in each other’s lives. It’s nice to have that feeling when you lose someone you gain it back in someone else.”
Dorothy and Darrell spent the afternoon greeting everyone who had come to congratulate them on their milestone, many of whom they had no idea were going to be there such as members of their youth group who traveled from far and wide to see them.
After eating cake and taking lots of pictures, Signe Thrift, one of their close friends and church member who organized the event, tearfully announced how much of an impact the two had on her life and presented them with gifts.
“It as an awesome thrill to see them together,” said Thrift. “They’re a very rare breed. There are not many people with 75 years married to the same person. They are the most loving people.”
It was unbelievable how many people came to celebrate them, Dorothy said. Always humble and willing to give back, she expressed to everyone how grateful she was and that she wanted to find some way to repay them for their kindness.
“It’s overwhelming,” Dorothy said. “We are humbled, truly humbled and grateful and thank God for everything and everyone for all they’ve done to make this happen.”