Richard and Jean Wylie, who ran Upminster veterinary practice, celebrate 75th wedding anniversary
11:00 20 March 2013
The Wylie family is well known around Upminster thanks to the veterinary surgery that bears its name – but not many will remember the day Richard and Jean, who ran the practice for 40 years, got married.
That’s because the couple who set up business in Corbets Tey Road tied the knot on March 19, 1938 – an amazing 75 years ago.
Living above the surgery and waiting room, vet Richard and bookkeeper Jean became familiar faces as every man and his dog passed through their doors.
“They’ve been absolutely devoted to each other for all that time,” said eldest son Ian, now 74. “I’ve never even heard my dad use my mother’s Christian name – it’s always ‘darling’.
“Mother would never allow herself to say a cross word – she would just clam up. Arguments weren’t allowed, so it was quite a peaceful existence. And they had lots of friends – my dad is the sole surviving founding member of the Hornchurch and Upminster Rotary Club and he never missed a meeting in 50 years.”
That’s no mean feat – Ian said his father had frequently had to work 12-hour days at the practice.
And during the war Richard even squeezed in treating the guard dogs at Hornchurch Airfield.
But his sister Alison, the youngest of four at 65, said her parents – who met at a tennis party and married at St Andrew’s Church, Hornchurch – had still found time to be together.
“I think they just really love each other,” she told the Recorder. “They’ve always had a good family life. They ate meals together – Dad went out and did visits but he was always home for lunch.
“And they used to work together – mum used to answer the phone for him in the early days, before they got receptionists, and she was his bookkeeper.”
Before marriage, Jean had trained as a dispenser for her family doctor.
But after marrying Richard, she went to work with him.
“They lived in Corbets Tey Road all their married life, except for seven years when they moved to Brentwood, and then they came back,” said Alison.
“Then they lived in Freshfields Avenue until they had to move into care last summer.”
Both Jean and Richard now live at Meadowbanks Care Home in Hall Lane, Upminster.
On their anniversary, the couple – who have four children, seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren – were surrounded by family, and had a special communion service brought to them.