78 Photo Essay: Ray and Dot McAdams

Words by Lindsay Brewer | Images by Blakeney Clouse

A humble couple, Ray and Dot McAdams consider themselves to be ordinary. The plethora of broken relationships littering the 60-plus years the McAdams’ have been married provides evidence that their union is anything but ordinary. 

“Will you have this man to be your husband, to live together in holy marriage?” The McAdams have answered this question from the traditional Methodist wedding vows as they have weathered the triumphs and the struggles in their lives – together. “We like the same things,” Dot shares. “We like to go places together.” 

“Will you love her, comfort her, honor, and keep her in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?” Recent health struggles have put this vow to the test for the McAdams, but Dot claims a full-time nurse couldn’t have cared for her better than Ray. These days, the places they go often have them sitting in a waiting room for long periods of time. She marvels that Ray will sit there without ever complaining. “I just think it’s so special,” Dot says. Even in the waiting rooms, there they sit, together. 

There’s an easy camaraderie between them as they recall where their love story began. Alternately interjecting the facts, Ray and Dot share how the seeds of their relationship were planted on a double date at a mutual friend’s house on the river. The conversation is peppered with chuckles and fond memories as they share how their love grew while they dated for two years. It became a full bloom on April 9, 1955. “In the name of God, I, Dot, take you, Ray, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”

Upon voicing their vows, Ray and Dot began building a life together. They settled in Jasper and had two precious children, Lisa and Al. Dot says their children have always been important to them. She and Lisa would play with dolls and go shopping while Ray and Al would talk football. As a family, they would go on trips together. 

“I think one of the important things that’s kept our marriage together is love and respect, trust and compatibility,” Dot says. The characteristic she loves most about Ray is his honesty. “I always knew whatever he told me was true.” Ray responds by telling a joke about an honest man. He barely finishes before he’s laughing. 

Of course, the bedrock of their relationship is their faith. They are members of Jasper First United Methodist Church where Dot has attended since birth. Dot advises young couples to “start [their relationship] by going to church and living your faith. Your faith is so important,” she says. “And, so is raising your children in a Christian home.” 

The McAdams may consider themselves to be ordinary, but a marriage spanning more than six decades is truly extraordinary. Forever was definitely on their minds when they said, “I do.” 78

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