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Alabama Love Story

Published: 3/23/2012
Jake Monte met Margaret Ragusa in 1940, when he delivered bread to her father’s grocery store, according to a news story that was published in The Homewood (Ala.) Star on Feb. 2 – three days after they celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary.

Margaret and Jake Monte (The Homewood Star)
Margaret and Jake Monte (The Homewood Star)

In the story titled “A love that lasts,” reporter Rick Watson wrote: Margaret keeps the letters and love poems Jake wrote to her while he was abroad in the Army during World War II in a box and re-reads them from time to time.

After the war, Jake remained in the food business as a bread salesman and later as a milkman,
Watson wrote. “He never made big money,” said Margaret. “But he always had a job, and we got by just fine.”

When asked, “What makes a marriage last,” Margaret raised a conspiratorial eyebrow and smiled: “It takes a lot of patience.”

“We learned to put up with each other,” Jake said. “You can’t go running to mama when the other one makes you mad.” Margaret also said that trusting the Lord is essential.

Watson wrote: Jake, 98, and Margaret, 92, are not as strong as they once were. . . But they still live alone in their Homewood cottage.

“We’re at a point in our lives where we can’t take care of ourselves, so we take care of each other,”
(Margaret) said. “We lean on each other’s shoulder.”

Jake died Feb. 11 - nine days after the article ran. His obit in The Birmingham (Ala.) News provides details about his war record and community service.


This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer. She is the director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers.

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