Hickory couple celebrates 70th wedding anniversary on Christmas Eve

Hickory couple celebrates 70th wedding anniversary on Christmas Eve
Jane and Harley Moretz (Source: Moretz family)

HICKORY, N.C. (WBTV) - Here it is. The Christmas Eve story you’ve been waiting for.

Jane and Harley Moretz, are celebrating 70-years of marriage TODAY. They met on Christmas Eve in 1949, and were married on Christmas Eve in 1950.

Their grandson, in Nashville, reached out two weeks ago hoping to honor this Hickory couple. He wrote the absolute best email.

“What an incredible milestone for this bedrock marriage,” Jeremy Moretz said. “Unfortunately, it can’t be celebrated appropriately because of COVID. But my grandparents are 87 and 88 years old, and still very much in love. They met at the age of 18. They got married on Christmas Eve because that’s the day they could get off work. For years they lived in a small house with no bathroom on the farm of Harley’s parents in Gaffney, South Carolina. They worked hard and expected nothing. My grandmother said they even used to make their own hot dog buns.”

Jane and Harley were upholsters in the furniture business. They turned bare furniture frames into beautiful pieces. In the early 70′s, they started their business, Harley Furniture, in the basement of their house before constructing a shop on their land.

“My father, their son, told me he helped build the shop from the ground up,” Jeremy wrote. “It was a family business. Some of the kids, neighbors, and other family members pitched in and worked at the shop as well.”

Sadly, that original shop burnt down. But, Jane and Harley didn’t give up. They relocated to another facility in Hickory and started again.

“I used to go to their shop as a kid,” Jeremy said. “I’d watch Grandma and Granpa—or Paw Paw as all of us grandkids call him—construct beautiful furniture from those bare frames. Paw Paw would offer me $2 to ‘spring up’ two chairs, and $20 to stain a box of ottoman buns with Miniwax. While I’d be there making some money and learning about hard work, my grandmother would sew and Paw Paw would be painstakingly crafting every detail on each piece. It was a shared craft between them.”

Jeremy says they worked 30 years, side-by-side.

“Still to this day, they can’t be separated,” he said. “Their relationship shows care and love for one another. They are a shining example for their three children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Where one goes, the other always follows!”

As you might imagine, Jeremy says Christmas Eve is a special occasion at his grandparent’s house. Every year they gather together as a big family, share a meal, open presents, and celebrate a long-standing marriage. Because of pandemic realities, this year that’s not happening.

“We understand COVID and don’t want to risk anyone, so we won’t have our annual tradition as normal,” Jeremy said. “But they know we love them. Our memories of past years in Hickory are great. We’d eat well—cooking fit for an army—and spend time together. Even though some of us now live out of town and it’s not as easy to meet up, we have a tight knit family.”

He ended his email with this:

“Merry Christmas… and happy anniversary to an inspirational couple.”

A perfect story to post before heading to the studio for the 5p, 5:30p, 6p… then immediately heading home for a bit of a winter break myself. Thank you so much, Jeremy, for sending and sharing your family with us all. Your grandparents must be wildly proud.


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