Jerry and Jeanne Southwood

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Jerry and Jeanne Southwood are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

They were married Feb. 10, 1968, at All Saints Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

The couple met during their freshman year at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and had their first date on April 19, 1964 (a date Jerry always remembers). Jerry came to Vanderbilt on a basketball scholarship from Evansville, Indiana; Jeanne came to Vanderbilt from the Bethesda/Chevy Chase, area outside of Washington, D.C. Following graduation from Vanderbilt, they resided in Nashville for almost 45 years. Jerry was the chief financial officer for a large public relations firm. Jeanne had various careers — she was a stay-at-home mom for many years, and a manager with both AT&T and a real estate company.

In the late 1990s, they fell in love with Montana and with Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake and Bigfork and decided that this spectacular place was where they wanted to live. They built their home overlooking Flathead Lake in 2006 and moved to Bigfork full time after Jerry retired in early 2011. They enjoy hiking and kayaking and volunteer work with the Flathead Food Bank and with St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church.

The couple is blessed with two wonderful children and their families. Their son Walter lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with his wife Sara and their children, Ailee, Ryan and Megan. Their daughter Mary Surber lives in Missoula with her husband Will and their two boys, Clayton and Jackson.

The couple celebrated their years together with a trip to Alaska in August, including a small boat cruise and a stay in Denali.

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