‘It’s amazing how happy we are’: La Jollans celebrate 50 years of marriage with pandemic-aware vow renewal

La Jollans Jim and Joy Furby celebrate their 50 years of marriage with a vow renewal ceremony.
La Jollans Jim and Joy Furby celebrate their 50 years of marriage with a vow renewal ceremony at the La Jolla home of the Rev. Arthur Hammons.
(Vincent Andrunas)

La Jollans Jim and Joy Furby weren’t going to let the coronavirus pandemic stop them from celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. So they arranged a vow renewal ceremony and small reception at the La Jolla home of the Rev. Arthur Hammons.

The Furbys sat in Hammons’ driveway during the Dec. 5 ceremony as Hammons conducted the vow renewal from his balcony. The guests, including a small group of the Furbys’ children and their spouses and some close friends, were seated socially distanced on the front lawn.

Above: Arthur Hammons and Virginia Foster. Below: Nicola Badamo, Anthony Greenwell, Michael and Julie Furby, Carol Frank.
On the balcony, the Rev. Arthur Hammons conducts the renewal of vows for Joy and Jim Furby alongside his wife, Virginia Foster. Seated below are Nicola Badamo and Anthony Greenwell, Michael and Julie Furby and Carol Frank.
(Vincent Andrunas)

Later, the Furbys and guests had dinner outside at the La Jolla Country Club. The whole affair was black tie.

“I decided that we were going to have a ceremony. It was important to me that we celebrate our 50th anniversary,” Joy Furby said.

The event, originally planned as a simple dinner at the country club, grew to include the vow renewal at the prompting of Hammons, who has known the Furbys for about 20 years. He and his wife and the Furbys attended the dancing club La Jolla Cotillion together.

“As soon as I was reminded of their anniversary, I volunteered my services,” Hammons said. “I said, ‘Let me renew your vows.’ I assured them that I would take good care of them and that this ceremony would be very sweet and short because of everybody having to stand and be distancing from each other.”

The “rededication ceremony” included playing “Here Comes the Bride,” and champagne flowed afterward.

“It was beautiful,” Joy said. “It was really pretty.”

With their wedding vows renewed, Jim and Joy Furby share a kiss.
(Vincent Andrunas)

The group — minus Hammons and his wife, who were observing stricter social distancing protocols — then dined at the country club, which kept the group small. “They wouldn’t let us have more than nine,” Joy said.

The couple met in 1963 while both were working for SeaWorld San Diego. Joy was the company’s public relations executive and first employee, she said. Jim was the building superintendent.

They dated for seven years. “We decided not to get married until everything was copacetic, until we had enough money and we could afford to be together,” Joy said. They married Oct. 5, 1970.

Soon after, they started a waterfront construction company that is still in operation today, Joy said. “Jim is still working,” she said.

The couple moved to La Jolla in 1976. They have two children, Michael Furby and Nicola Marino, along with six grandchildren, all of whom live close by. “We’re lucky,” Joy said.

Joy and Jim like to stay active together through walking and swimming, and they do a lot of reading, Joy said. They’re also members of the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Hammons said.

The Rev. Arthur Hammons is accompanied by his wife, Virginia Foster, as he conducts Joy and Jim Furby's vow renewal.
(Vincent Andrunas)

The Furbys are “still very much in love with each other,” Hammons said, “and they’re very sweet to each other. Jim is a wonderful husband, and Joy is adorable and charming. They’re both very generous and thoughtful.”

Joy said she and Jim have a lasting marriage because they’re “very amicable. … We’ve gone through so much together in 50 years of marriage.”

“Give and take is important to a marriage,” she added. “You have to be more kind, more giving. You gotta give a little more, and as you get older you get more. We loved each other, we respected each other.”

“Good patience and being able to understand each other” also are important, she said.

“We’re looking forward” to the future, Joy said. “It’s amazing how happy we are.” ◆