Lawton Skipper and Elmina Lindsey were both raised in High Springs and have been sweethearts since high school—when Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby were topping the music charts. On Tuesday a caravan of well-wishers formed a car parade in front of their house to help them celebrate 70 years of marriage.
The COVID-19 pandemic put limits on the celebration for the 91-year-old couple, but friends, family and fellow members of High Springs Church of Christ wanted to make sure the occasion was appropriately marked. The couple’s two grown children, Lawton Skipper Jr. and Sherri Dorrill, did the organizing.
“Seventy years of marriage is such a milestone that we wanted to celebrate it, and at that age the future is not guaranteed, so we wanted to make it special,” Skipper Jr. said. “We didn’t advertise much, just a post on Facebook and word at the church, but word got around and we now have a caravan of over 20 cars in the parade.”
Lawton and Elmina started dating while in attending the now-defunct High Springs High School, where Lawton was the football team’s quarterback. After graduation in 1951, they decided to quickly get married prior to Lawton leaving for a tour of duty in the Navy. Elmina lived with his grandparents while Lawton participated in combat action on a destroyer off the coast of Korea.
Upon his returning after four years of service, the couple spent time in Sarasota before settling in High Springs.
“Dad was a jack of all trades but also opened a real estate company in High Springs,” said daughter Sherri Dorrill.
After he retired from real estate, Lawton bought the Ponderosa Campground in White Springs and worked as a hunting guide in Lake City. The couple stayed in Lake City until three years ago when the house became too much to handle and his children bought their current house in High Springs.
On Tuesday, one by one cars drove by honking horns and waving to the couple as they sat on their front lawn. As the cars, passed, Lawton Jr. called the event a success: “It meant a lot to them to have all these friends and family help celebrate this special occasion.”