BY JACLYN ROSE –
Around 55 years ago, a mutual friend of Brooks and Ann Barron thought they would be a good match for each other and set them up on a blind date. The couple agreed and married a year later. After 54 years they are a wonderful example of a godly marriage. The duo are adorable together, finishing each other’s sentences and sharing laughs as they discussed their lives and what has made their marriage work all these years.
Brooks, whose birth name is Robert, but was nicknamed Brooks by his brother, and Ann are both Houston natives that were introduced while Brooks was on leave from the Marine Corp. After the couple married and Brooks finished his active duty in the Marine Corp, they began their lifelong career as ranchers, while Brooks also ran an auction barn in Texas. After taking a break from college to raise their two children, Kenneth and Kelly, to school age, Ann went back to school and graduated from the University of Houston and began her career in education.
In 1976 the couple decided that they wanted more land so they moved north and settled in Mena. “Brooks and I both have wonderful childhood memories of Houston but we love this area and moving here just worked out beautifully. Both of our children made lifelong friends and had a wonderful reception in the school system.” The couple helped run the Sunlight Center and assisted with delinquent boys while continuing to ranch.
Ann taught both reading and social studies for the Mena School District for around 30 years before her retirement. “You know I still have all the yearbooks from every class I taught here in Mena. I still remember names and faces and incidents from ‘my kids’. I loved teaching them and really they taught me. I learned from them. Teaching was very satisfying,” Ann explained.
Both Brooks and Ann credit their relationships with Jesus and their mutual walks with the Lord for their 54 years of wedded bliss. “The commitment you make to the Lord is what gets you through a marriage. Marriage takes two imperfect people with many flaws and brings them together. Brooks has a great sense of humor and we could have a serious conversation and he would be listening and communicating and then he would say something funny that would make me laugh and we have many activities we enjoy doing together, watching football and working the ranch together, but without our relationships with the Lord I’m not sure we could have made it,” Ann explained. Brooks agreed, “Determination and the Lord in our lives have got us through.” Ann continued, “Marriages are all about seasons, there will be times of great success and great discouragement but the Lord is the common denominator that keeps you focused during the high times and the low times.”
After raising their two children the Barron’s now have five grandkids and three great grandkids. “Well, we have one bucking and two in the shoots, one is here and two are on their way,” said Ann. “Yes, that’s what the cowboy’s say,” explained Brooks with a laugh.
The Barron’s have always been active in Polk County: they were both board members of the Cattlemen’s Association, with Brooks serving as President for a number of years. Brooks was also a board member for both the Farm Bureau Board and the Senior Board, while Ann headed up a Women’s Investment Club and was the Chairwoman for the Polk County Republican Party for six years and the Election Commissioner for around four years. Unfortunately, two and a half years ago, Brooks suffered a major stroke that has required some changes in the lifestyle of the couple. Even during that trying time, Brooks and Ann have clung to each other and to the Lord and have seen both their relationships deepen because of it.
The Barron’s might be Houston natives but they have put strong roots down in Polk County, “The people here are so friendly,” Brooks said. “And it’s such a wonderful place, gorgeous and beautiful,” added Ann. “It’s been a great place to raise our children.”