Sweethearts For 65 Years
Every year about this time couples all across America celebrate their relationships with special gifts of flowers, candy and many times just enjoying each others company.
One special couple, well known to the New Martinsville community, has spent nearly 65 years together.
Beulah Nice and Bill Talkington met at Wetzel County 4-H Camp in 1950. They were both farm kids from opposite ends of the county.
Beulah lived on American Ridge near New Martinsville and Bill lived on the Deadfall Road near Pricetown.
On the first day of camp, Bill was chosen to be chief of the Delaware Tribe and Beulah was chosen to be his helper. They worked closely together for five days. Beulah recalls being very impressed with Bill’s intelligence and leadership ability.
After that week at camp they never had any contact with each other for nearly five years. Bill had graduated from Smithfield high school in 1951, and joined the Marines at the age of 17. At the age of 19 he was a sargent incharge of 67 older marines. By the age of 20, he had traveled around the world.
It was after Bill’s honorable discharge in 1955 that he met Beulah once again, and they went on their first date.
Bill went home, woke up his mother and said,” I just had a date with the girl I’m going to marry.”
Five months later on September 19, 1955, they were united in marriage at St. John’s Methodist Church on Maple Avenue in New Martinsville. The ceremony was attended by their mothers and one other guest.
Bill and Beulah both had jobs working for C&P telephone company so they remained in the New Martinsville area.
Bill later gained employment with P.P.G. Where he worked until he had a lung collapse twice and knew he had to leave the chemical plant.
Bill, Beulah and their three young children, Jon, Percy, and Belinda, built Talkington’s gun shop in 1966. They have continued to operate the business now for 53 years.
Because they were selling firearms, they felt an obligation to teach firearm safety to the community. They taught West Virginia Hunter Education classes for 41 years and certified 3,789 students. Of those students they don’t know of any criminal activity with firearms from any of them. Together they have tallied the most volunteer hours of anyone in West Virginia and are the top two names on the West Virginia Hunter Education Hall of Fame plaque in Charleston.
Bill is also in the West Virginia Amateur Trapshooting Hall of Fame for his shooting ability as he had the highest annual average in the state for seven years. Bill has also been named to the West Virginia Wild Turkey Federation Hall of Fame for his work with youth. He was director of the staff which sent 12 qualified Air Rifle shooters to the Olympic Training Center and five qualified shooters to the nationally famous West Virginia Rifle Team.
Beulah and Bill have always felt an obligation to the 4-H program and volunteered their services for 45 years. They have received numerous awards from the 4-H program and Beulah has been named as a lifetime member of the West Virginia 4-H All-Stars. Beulah is especially pleased with the National award she received for teaching at the international Girl Scout Camp in 1976.
Bill has scaled down his work load but still operates the gun shop. Beulah is still his best helper.
“We have been a sweetheart of a team,” said Beulah. “Beulah has been my Valentine every year at this time, she has been my sweetheart everyday,” said Bill.