UA Little Rock community makes 60th wedding anniversary special for Downs’ parents

Bud and Janice Beaty

Sharon Ann Downs, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs at UA Little Rock, was devastated to realize that she and her family would be unable to hold a celebration for her parents’ 60th wedding anniversary on April 16.

“My dad has been at home on hospice care for six months,” Downs said. “We are extremely cautious with the COVID-19 pandemic. We only visit with my parents through their glass door when we bring them food.”

Then a friend from her church, Second Presbyterian, suggested that she ask friends and colleagues to send cards to her parents. Downs reached out to her Trojan family and was overwhelmed by the response.

The Beatys have received many cards from Trojans to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.
The Beatys have received many cards from Trojans to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.

“I was so stressed because we couldn’t do any of the typical things to celebrate,” Downs said. “I was tearing myself up trying to think of something special when my friend suggested I ask for cards to be sent. I put the post on the university’s classifieds list and on Facebook. I got so many responses that I cried with gratitude. My Trojan family really came through for me.”

Downs’ parents, Bud and Janice Beaty, married in 1960 and live in Benton. The couple have greatly enjoyed having stacks of cards to open and read.

“My parents were blown away,” she said. “I think, in some ways, it meant more to them to hear from people they didn’t know, because these people don’t have any reason, other than to help their daughter, to help them celebrate this milestone. These cards have made a meaningful impact on my parents and are giving them something to look forward to everyday in the mail. With them being so isolated, that means everything. This was a much-needed glimmer of love and hope and grace.”

So far, more than 50 people from UA Little Rock and Second Presbyterian have sent cards to Downs’ parents. Candi Barnum from the Department of Human Resources even sent Downs’ parents a special anniversary present – a set of mugs that read “60 years of being Mr. Right” and “60 years of being Mrs. Always Right.”

If you’d like to send a card, email Downs at sadowns@ualr.edu for the address.

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