by Lynn Jones – In today’s society being married for 60 years is a lifelong challenge; many young and seasoned adults have a hard time staying together for 60 seconds. BJ and Barbara Richardson celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with a combo pack birthday and anniversary soiree. Close friends and relatives attended festivities at the St. Thomas Life Center located on Moncrief Rd. to celebrate with the couple on this historic occasion. Guests were feted with dinner and program celebrating the marriage of a couple that was so eager to get married they forgot they were not of age! In 1957, BJ Richardson, whose birthday is February 10th, was 21 years of age and his bride at the time was 18 years old and the required legal age was 21. Not to be disappointed, the couple politely asked the bride’s father to kindly execute his signature for them to get married. Knowing what an outstanding gentleman Mr. BJ was to his daughter, the brides Fathers obliged and the rest is history!
Barbara (Baldwin) Richardson attended Boylan Haven School for girls, went on to graduate from Edward Waters College with a Bachelor of Science and received her Master’s Degree in Education from Florida A & M University. BJ Richardson was employed for 17 years with Jacksonville Transportation Authority as a Service Station attendant. The loving couple boasts that the longest they’ve been apart is one week and that holding hands is their favorite pastime. When asked what they hold dearest about each other, the couple smiled and remarked, “we have been each other’s rock.”
Barbara Richardson was outside in her yard when the handsome BJ passed by and started talking to her. He told her he had to go to the grocery store but he would return. Return he did and after a little “divine intervention,” Barbara said he knew he was the one.
They also gladly shared their secret to longevity, stated, “You have to start off right and be ready to play your role as a wife and friend to your husband. Men and women need each other; one is not over the other. We became one and we continue to love and kiss each other good night. I’m ready for 60 more!” siad Mrs. Richardson.
Barbara and BJ have opened their home throughout the years to a host of god children, nieces and nephews. Shown is the happy couple smiling and cutting their birthday/anniversary cake.