“Ab called me from Michigan that Saturday and said, I’m a coming home, would you like to get married and come to Michigan with me and I said, ‘might as well’,” Frankie recalled.  That was almost 75 years ago as Frankie and Ab Bacon share their story with WLAF’s Charlotte Underwood.

By Charlotte Underwood

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – Side by side for the last 75 years, Frankie and Ab Bacon wouldn’t have it any other way. The pair are preparing to celebrate their Diamond anniversary on Aug. 31. A celebration party with family and friends will be held at the couples residence on Aug. 28.   WLAF visited with the Bacons in their home to get the details of their life, secrets to longevity and a happy marriage. 

Both were born in 1927, Ab turned 94 on June 9 and Frankie turns 94 Oct. 11. 

Sitting close together on their couch, Frankie poked Ab playfully, “You’re older,” she teased, “for now.” Hundreds of pictures of family adorn their walls behind them. 

The pair were married on Aug. 31, 1946. 

They met in the “big shirt factory” in downtown LaFollette when they were about 18. Ab had been raised “up Riggs Hill near Ford Town” and Frankie grew up down by Ash Street, but they didn’t really find each other until working together in the factory.

Both were sweet on the other, but Ab left LaFollette to seek work in Michigan at the Hudson Motor Company and Chrysler. Frankie began working at Bentley’s Dime Store. They were both 19.

“Ab called me from Michigan that Saturday and said, I’m a coming home, would you like to get married and come to Michigan with me and I said, ‘might as well’,” Frankie recalled. 

They eloped to Middlesboro, Ky., along with another couple, Ab’s brother Clarence Bacon and his girlfriend Annette Rogers. 

“We had a double wedding. We went up there so we didn’t have to wait three days on the blood test,” Frankie recalled. The couple didn’t have time. They had to be back to Michigan to work at the car companies by Tuesday, the day after Labor Day. 

Once back in Michigan, the couple continued to work in the automotive industry, as Frankie also went to work for Chrysler and Dodge. They spent several years there, before moving back to LaFollette around 1952.

While working at the automotive factories, both Frankie and Ab would get laid off in the summer months while the car companies “switched models.” The pair would often visit LaFollette and family during those summers. It was on one of those visits that Ab offered to build a house for Frankie’s dad. 

“My dad said well that’s nice Ab, but you’ve never built a house before. Ab said ‘well, I will do what I can and get a carpenter for anything I can’t’ and Ab shut the door on that house; he did it all and it’s a fine a house as ever was built. It’s still there on South Hills,” Frankie said proudly.

That was the beginning of Ab’s carpentry career and the couple moved home. He built many houses in the area, including their residence, as well as the very first house in the golf course subdivision when it opened up.

Ab also worked as an inspector for the federal housing authority, as well as maintenance supervisor for the county school system.

“We have done everything. We have had a long, good life. The lord has blessed us,” Ab said looking at his wife of more than seven decades. 

For about five years the couple owned a grocery store in South Hills. According to Ab, Frankie gave away more than she sold. In 1964 Frankie went to work at John Brown’s State Farm insurance (now Tabatha Smith’s State Farm office). Frankie recalled when she went to work for John Brown, the office was as busy “as grand central station.”

Frankie still works at that same office today with no plans for retirement. 

“The funeral home will have to go down there to pick her up,” Ab joked. 

“I want people to look at me after I’m gone and say ‘why, she just sold me insurance last Tuesday,'” Frankie joined in.

Through all the years of hard work and love, the couple raised two sons, Ronald and Vaughn. The boys are 13 years apart, but “close as twins”, according to Frankie. 

Frankie and Ab have their two sons, five grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

“We have been so blessed with family, with our boys and their lovely wives. They are just so good to us; everyone has just been so good to us,” Frankie said. 

In some ways, the married couple are as different as night and day; Ab is quiet, while Frankie loves to talk. 

“My dad would joke that Ab was always so quiet that it ‘must have been me who asked him to marry’, not the other way around,” Frankie laughed.

The couple has been through everything together and have “leaned on one another and the Lord to get through.”

They gave advice to “never let the sun set on an argument” and both consider the other their best friend. 

According to Ab, his secret to longevity is simple.”When I’ve worked, I’ve worked real hard, when I’ve sat, I’ve sat loose and when I worry, I go to sleep.”

According to Frankie, she’s “just never slowed down” and it’s kept her going.

“We’ve worked hard all our lives, we’ve paid our debts and told the truth and I’ve tried to do my best to carry the corner of somebody’s load; they don’t even have to know you’re doing it, just slip in behind them and give them a little help.”

According to both Frankie and Ab, the key to a 75 year marriage is all about “give and take.”

“It’s a two way street, you got to give and take and sometimes you have to give more than you take, you just got to do that,” Ab said. 

From all of us at WLAF, Happy 75th anniversary Frankie and Ab! (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 08/27/2021-6AM)

6 Replies to “Frankie and Ab Bacon celebrate 75 years together”

  1. Happy 75th Anniversary to Frankie and Ab!!!! You”re a Wonderful couple!!! I pray you both have many more years together with your wonderful family!! This is such a well-written piece honoring Frankie and Ab’s life. Thank you

  2. Happy anniversary! Frankie you have been such a good friend through these years. I thank you for all your help. I love you and think of you often. I still have the same phone number if you ever want to call. May Gods continue to bless you. Love Jessie

  3. Happy anniversary you two! Frankie I’ve know you since I was 18 years old and bought my first car insurance. Ab I’ve known you from working in the school system. I love you two and hope you have many more years together! The sweetest couple I know!

  4. Happy Anniversary to a wonderful couple. You two are an example of what marriage should be. I love you both and hope you are blessed with many years to come.

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