The typical love story ends with the couple living happily ever after, but often that’s just the beginning. Esther, 87, and LeRoy Barr, 86, having been living their happily ever after for the past 66 years, 64 of them married. But sadly, now Esther is having to cope with a new and difficult chapter of their lives together – LeRoy recently entered hospice care. She’s found comfort in knowing that he loves her, she loves him, and they’ve always forgiven each other. That simple mantra is what she calls “their secret to success six decades later.”
The couple now calls Mustang Creek Estates of Burleson home. The Barrs are proud parents to two daughters, and they have seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
“My parents have been able to live out their golden years together, but that doesn’t take away the heartbreak of hospice. I’m very proud my mom wants to tell her love story. Sharing the memories and stories has been very therapeutic for us as a family,” said their daughter, Debbie Kelley.
Esther’s memory is sharp. She vividly recalls the moment she first saw and met LeRoy at a bus stop in San Antonio, but it turns out he had his eye on her many months earlier in another city! When LeRoy and Esther both previously lived in Laredo, LeRoy remembered her working as a bank teller. As fate would have it, both were in San Antonio and they both got on the same bus. LeRoy had the courage to ask for her number, but Esther was hesitant. Recalling that time, Esther coyly mentions she had her option of suitors! But, thanks to her sister’s encouragement, she gave LeRoy her number.
Their story is a nice reminder that nice guys can finish first. Esther says it wasn’t a fast love, but his consistency grew on her. He was kind, nice, and always made her laugh. It didn’t matter how much money he had for dates because with LeRoy, it was always fun.
“When I met LeRoy, he didn’t even have a car yet. We’d ride the bus together, and he’d always make me smile. He’d point to a tree and exclaim, ‘That’s a kissing tree’ and steal a peck,” said Esther.
After nearly a year of dating, the couple got married on Nov. 9, 1956. Esther explains it wasn’t an extravagant wedding. They wanted something personal and private, so they tied the knot in a church in a ceremony that fit their style perfectly. Following the wedding, Esther says she was showered in presents from LeRoy! In the beginning, he brought her a small gift every day. They were always something personal, and never flowers.
“LeRoy isn’t always the best with dates. Sometimes he’d forget Valentine’s Day, but he always made it up to me,” said Esther. “He loves to tease me, no matter how long we’ve been married. When I’d go to the beauty shop, he’d ask, ‘Oh no, what happened, she couldn’t get you in?’ Anything to make me laugh. But I always knew when he was being sincere, and I always knew he loved me.”
“It’s been beautiful to get to watch Mr. and Mrs. Barr’s love story. Their example of love and commitment is something to be admired,” said Katie Hidalgo, executive director of Mustang Creek Estates of Burleson. “Mrs. Barr is such a strong woman, and we hope we can continue being a source of support for her and her family.”