Digital Original: Couple shares secret to more than 6 decades of marriage & it has to do with cake


NIMROD, Ark. – Nearly six decades later and nothing is a sweeter as the love one Arkansas couple has for one another.

Hubert, 87, and Mary Dell, 83, Haley have been married for 64 years.

“Her cooking is one of the biggest things and her companionship,” says Hubert.

The year was 1955 and on a hot Arkansas August day, Hubert and Mary Dell said their “I dos” inside of their first Arkansas home just about a mile up the road from where they met.

“Yes, it’s still I do,” says Mary Dell. “Even after all these years.”

The couple met while Hubert was working on roads in Perry County. It wasn’t far from Mary Dell’s home. She now jokes this where she grew up and that he fell in love with the hills and couldn’t go back to where he came from.

“We are blessed to be healthy,” explains Mary Dell. “I told him a good report from the doctor today will be our anniversary gift to each other.”

As for their secret, well the Haleys say understanding, love, and above all, God.

“It’s a two-way street,” says Hubert.

Hubert worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, while his wife worked different jobs in order to be home to maintain the home and care for their daughter, Sharon.

However, the time home allowed Mary Dell to invest in her other life passions- cooking, and baking.

“Every year on his birthday, I bake him a German Chocolate Cake,” explains Mary Dell.

“That’s my favorite. And she knows it and she knows how to make one.” confirms Hubert. “She made one for me every year since we been married.”

However, you can’t have your cake and eat it too with happy-ever-after the couple admits.

Hubert was attacked by a wild hog while on the job.

“He had to take an early retirement,” Mary Dell explains.

The hog punctured Hubert twice, having him lose lots of blood and need extensive medical treatment. He was in the hospital for about two weeks.

“I always tell everyone he’s a true Razorback,” Mary Dell laughs. “He came face to face with one and beat it.”

“She’s there when I need her,” explains Hubert as he holds back tears. “For whatever I needed her for she was there for me.”

Now, 64 years later, the rough times seem like a piece of cake.

“It’s no bed of roses,” says Hubert. “But we have lots to be thankful for.”

“You must have faith in the good Lord,” Mary Dell says.

As for that delicious German Chocolate Cake, well Mary Dell has only made it one other time than his birthday, the time he spent in the hospital.

“Some of the crew were there visiting me and she had placed it at the end of the bed and they joked with me saying I was reaching with my toes to have it at it,” Hubert laughs.

Here is the recipe for Mary Dell’s German Chocolate Cake.

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup of oil
1 cup of butter
2 egg yolks
1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 teaspoons of cocoa
1/2 cup of carnation or condensed milk
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups of flour
1 cup of boiling hot water.


1-1/2 cups carnation or condensed milk
2 cups of sugar
3/4 cups of butter
3 large egg yolks
1 egg white whipped
2 cups shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoons vanilla

Bake traditional way or until cake is fully cooked in center

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