This feature originally ran on May 30, 2018 in The South Alabamian. I adored this couple! They are together in Heaven now, but I still love their story!
“We hadn’t lived here very long. Mama and Daddy and all of us had moved from Mobile to Jackson. There was a Sunday School party at the United Methodist Church and I wanted to take the cutest man in town,” Mrs. Dottie Outlaw smiles as she recollects her younger years and her first date with Dan Outlaw, who has now been her husband for 67 years. “My girlfriend had a date and then there was me, so I decided I’d take him as a friend. We’ve been together ever since.” Sitting nearby, Mr. Dan Outlaw smiles and nods.
Mr. Outlaw is a native of Jackson and remembers when the Boone family moved to Jackson and started a hardware store here. The Boones’ daughter, Dottie, was an accomplished dancer who studied at Madelyn McDonald’s School of Dance in Mobile and studied ballet for a year in New York. Always passionate about the arts, Miss Dottie Boone had her own dance studio when she came to Jackson. She ran it out of the Jackson High School gymnasium where she taught ballet, tap and acrobatics. She also had satellite studios in Thomasville and Monroeville.
Dan and Dottie Outlaw still holding hands
The Boones attended Jackson United Methodist Church and it was this church that had a Sunday School picnic for which Dottie lacked a date. After a brief courtship with Dan, the couple married on April 14, 1951. “That was a different time,” Mr. Outlaw explained. “You had to have permission to get married.” The couple was married in a Methodist parsonage in Lucedale and moved to Tuscaloosa to start their lives together.
Dan worked with a finance company and soon accepted promotions that would move the family to both Montgomery and Huntsville. As the Outlaw family grew to include four sons and one daughter, the couple began to reminisce about their young adulthood in Jackson. Soon they decided that Jackson would be a wonderful place to raise their children because of the town’s atmosphere, the church activities and the closeness that the children would have with their grandparents and cousins.
Mr. Outlaw took a position in his father-in-law’s hardware store for many years before retiring from Liberty National Insurance. Mrs. Outlaw also worked in the family business, as Boone’s Hardware had a gift shop. “We sold very nice things,” Mrs. Outlaw recalled. Mrs. Outlaw would begin working at her “favorite job” in 1960, when she became director of the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce. She retired in 1989.
The Outlaw children, Curtis Jr. “Dee”, Ramona, Darryl, Dale and Barry attended school in Jackson and participated in youth activities here. “We really liked playing ball,” Mrs. Outlaw quipped. Like every family however, the Outlaws also suffered. The devastating loss of their daughter at a young age was a trying time, but through their faith in God and love for one another, the couple persevered. The Outlaw legacy continues to grow with 10 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and one more great-grandchild on the way soon. Mrs. Outlaw proudly displays a bulletin board in her room with all of her family members on it. “I look at my blessings every day.”
Now at age 91, Mr. Outlaw gets a ride from The Meadows daily to visit his 87-year-old bride at Jackson Health Care Facility. They spend their time gazing out the window and watching the birds. “And we hold hands every day. Every day that we see each other, we are going to hold hands. We’ve been holding hands for 67 years,” Mrs. Outlaw smiled lovingly.
When asked what advice they would give married couples or couples planning to be married, the words were plain. “Love each other and do for each other like you want them to do for you,” Dottie remarked. “You don’t have to bend over backwards, but help each other and be encouraging every day,” Dan added.
And hold hands. Everyday.
Weekly columnist. Feature Writer.