Raytown couple celebrates 70-year love affair - KCTV5 News

Raytown couple celebrates 70-year love affair

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It was love at first sight in 1940 for Keith Reynolds when he first laid eyes on Wanda Smith

"Somehow I knew I met the woman of my life," he said.

The now 88-year-old Raytown resident is celebrating a milestone with the same woman he married on Nov. 23, 1942, in Henry County, MO.

The two were joined by family and friends at First Baptist Church of Raytown on Saturday for what some may call a 70-year miracle.

What is their secret to seven decades of marriage?

"You have to cooperate. There is a lot of give and a lot of take," 88-year-old Wanda Reynolds said.

And helping to finish her sentence, like her husband is sometimes known for doing, Keith adds, "It is more give than take. And to take care of me like she does, she would have to love me."

They also say there is a lesson here to be learned between the couple.

"If you treat each other with respect and kindness, you get that back in return," she said.

And that is what Keith and Wanda have done over the years.

Keith met Wanda two days before she turned 16 on July 14, 1940.  The two dated when they could until they married Nov. 23, 1942.

Their marriage happened very suddenly. Keith said they didn't have a pastor after Wanda's minister came down with cancer. But thanks to his father, he knew of a pastor in Clinton, MO.

So the two traveled to the pastor's home on a Monday night and joined hands in marriage.

Keith grew up on a farm outside of Clinton with his brother and two sisters. Wanda lived not too far from him in Deepwater, MO, with her sister and six brothers. Over the next 30 years, the two would work to support each other and eventually raise a family.

In 1973, the couple moved their family to Raytown, raising 10 children. They have 22 grandchildren and 44 great-grandchildren. They currently live in the same home 40 years later.

Before Keith retired, he worked at Allis-Chalmers, a Gleaner manufacturing company in Independence that made the first self-propelled combine harvesters. He also served his community as an area pastor for many years.

He was a Baptist minister for several years, including Faith Baptist Church, a small North Kansas City church on North Brighton Avenue.  He also pastored in Excelsior Springs at Excelsior Springs Baptist Temple.

When Keith was 85, he sat down at the computer and for many months he typed, while Wanda proofread his book, "Stephanie Grows Up." 

He said it was inspiration from a story he heard on the news of a 93-year-old man that had written a book.

Keith's book was not good enough that a publisher wanted to print it, but he finished it, self-published it and has sold a few copies.  He, like his family, is very proud of the book.

Wanda grew up in the grocery business. Her father owned Smith's Groceries in Deepwater, MO. She worked there until moving to Kansas City to start a family, where she would be a stay-at-home mom.

Over the years, the two have seen 19 U.S. presidents move into the White House. And during their courtship, the couple recalls gas at 11 cents and movies were only $1.

However, money was tight for the two while they were dating, and Wanda recalls enjoying their youth together with picnics and board games.

"I just seemed to like him, I guess," Wanda Reynolds said. "I love him."

And for those who have been touched by lives of the Reynolds, it is no wonder that the love the two have shared has endured for the last 70 years.

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