The life of Clyde and Lorene Braxton reminds everyone who knew them of the couple from the movie “The Notebook.” They were close in love and devotion to each other and their family for more than 63 years. Also, like the couple in the movie, the Braxtons died a day apart.
Lorene died first, on Friday, Oct. 13; and he died the next day. Their sons, Terry and Mike, both of whom live in Calhoun County, said their parents were idyllic.
The couple’s love story began when he moved from Evergreen to Anniston to work, first, at Fort McClellan and, later, at what was then Interstate Roofing and Sheet Metal. Her brother-in-law, Joe Hall, also worked there.
Hall introduced the couple sometime around 1952-53, after Lorene Lambert moved to Anniston from the Micaville area of Cleburne County to work for what was then South Central Bell. They dated and even planned a wedding, but one day an elopement seemed a better idea. They married in April 1954.
“They got in a car and drove to Trenton, Ga.,” Terry, the older son, said. “They found a justice of the peace to perform the ceremony and made it a point to go back to Trenton from time to time to celebrate their anniversary.”
The couple first returned to Cleburne County to tell family members about their marriage, and then they drove to Evergreen to do the same.
They settled in Anniston, and their first home was with his parents who lived around 19th Street and Quintard Avenue.
“That started an incredible journey,” said Terry, who owns TriCo Supply in Anniston.
Mike said a distinct trait the couple had was their oneness. They were respectful of each other and devoted to their sons, a perfect unity of the four. The brothers never remember seeing their parents argue, a fact that Mike once asked his mother about.
She explained to him, “We disagreed, but we never did it front of you boys.”
Mike works in sales throughout the Southeast for Nucor Steel, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C.
Throughout his career, Clyde worked in the sheet metal industry; and Lorene was a lunchroom manager at Tenth Street Elementary and Johnston Elementary and Junior High schools. They lived in the Glen Addie area of West Anniston and attended the Glen Addie Baptist Church during the years they raised their sons. Later they moved to Rocky Hollow Road and became members of Parker Memorial Baptist Church.
The boys remembered the support their parents gave them as they played sports and attended school. Leigh, Terry’s wife, said she remembers how Lorene cried when the family left him at Auburn University’s Magnolia Hall. The couple later bade good-bye to their second son lovingly, but without any outward tears. When going through his own empty nest, he asked his mother how she was able to let them go so easily.
“You were doing what we raised you to do,” she said.
The harmony between the couple never faltered in spite of the last few years when their health declined.
For 10 years, he suffered from multiple treatments and surgeries for an aortic aneurysm.
He should have died several times, but both brothers said he pulled through for Lorene.
Her gentle personality and ability to resolve conflicts kept her smiling and loving everyone she knew.
One of her ailments was a mysterious pain that cropped up from time to time. One day Terry opened the door of his father’s hospital room and found that he, sick and barely able to move, was rubbing Lorene’s sore back.
“That was an amazing sight,” said Terry. “That was the essence of who they were. She would tell him he couldn’t leave her, and he would tell her he would do the best he could to stay.”
Clyde succeeded in doing his best until his wife’s recent death in the room they shared at NHC. After she was gone, there was no longer a reason for him to endure his suffering.
“We are so happy they passed together,” said Mike. “That was what they wanted. One day apart. That was their love story.”
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