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Don & Danna - 50 Years of Laughter

They met as a result of a failed blind date. But not their own!

It was 1968 and Don was a young officer in the army, stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. He had needed a date for an army function and had been set up with a gal whom he'd never met. It was when he brought her home that evening that he met his date's roommate, Danna, a teacher in a nearby town. He and Danna talked. They dated. And four months later, they said I DO!

They were married in an intimate ceremony surrounded by family - their parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and a few friends. When it was time for Danna to put the ring on Don's finger, she had trouble. His finger kept bending and was shaking. Danna assumed that Don was emotional, but it turned out that in typical fashion, he was laughing. Laughter would be a thread woven throughout their entire married lives. Danna was finally able to slip the ring on Don's finger and as the ceremony concluded, excitement bubbled up in her as the newly-wed couple exited the church. Fellow officers flanked the doorway outside the church with raised swords. As Mr. and Mrs. walked under the glistening metal archway, family and friends threw rice in a gesture of well wishes.

Four children, nine grandchildren, and 50 years later, the laughter continues.

I recently had the privilege of photographing this sweet couple and their big, CRAZY, fun-loving family. Family members near and far gathered together over a long weekend to celebrate this huge milestone. The couple jokes that of all their sons, only the oldest was planned whereas the other three were... OOPS! However, it doesn't take long to realize that they adore all FOUR of their sons. What I noticed immediately was that this family loves to LAUGH! The brothers were constantly cracking jokes, busting each other's chops, and generally being silly. Having raised a house full of rowdy boys, Danna now enjoys spending time with her daughters-in-law.

Don and Danna also enjoy doing things with their grandkids who range in age from 7 to 16. They recently went tubing in Helen, GA. When possible, the entire family likes to vacation together. When asked the secret to a successful marriage, Danna said,

"You must have a sense of humor. You don't give up. Everybody has rough patches. Having 4 kids. . . that makes everything interesting. I guess you talk it out. You try not to have a long memory about what makes you mad. And you try to make time for each other We tried to have time together without the kids - to recharge."

Don and Danna, you have a beautiful family. Here's to another 50 years of LOVE and LAUGHTER!

148 views3 comments


Jul 31, 2018

Thank you, Kristy! I thoroughly enjoyed meeting your family and spending some time together. Thank you for trusting me with your memories!!!


Kristy Mapp Bedell
Kristy Mapp Bedell
Jul 28, 2018

We had such a great time doing this photo shoot. Thank you Stephanie for doing our photo shoot for us. I really LOVE the blog for Don and Danna. I am certain they will love it too. Can't thank you enough!

Dave Mustaine
Dave Mustaine
Sep 21, 2023
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