George and Deanna Hoagland celebrated their 70th anniversary with lunch at Osprey Heights on December 18, 2023.

George and Deanna Hoagland celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on December 18, 2023, prioritizing unity throughout their relationship.

The Osprey Heights Gracious Retirement Living residents were commemorated with a celebratory lunch on their anniversary and celebrated with their family the day before.

George spoke at the Thonotosassa United Methodist Church’s service on December 17 to share his love story. The couple had the opportunity to renew their marriage vows at the service as well.

“We lit the unity candle, and that unity candle meant we were united in everything we did and we did everything in unity,” he said during the service. “Everything from going to church to having children to our finances, and a lot of other things.”

George was surprised by being asked to speak at the Sunday service and granted the time to encourage other couples in their faith and relationships.

The Hoaglands met in Virginia but moved to Seffner in 1975 after George’s job relocated him. The couple opened a Christmas tree and blueberry farm off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on the side.

“I kind of wanted to get into Christmas trees because I had some acres there and didn’t know what I was going to do with it originally,” he said.

The Hoaglands added blueberries to their farm as well after learning about how to care for the berries in Florida.

“I grew the biggest and the sweetest blueberries that you could ever imagine,” George said.

Deanna helped raise their four children at home while the couple lived in Florida. After spending some time in Citrus County, the couple moved to Osprey Heights in 2023 to be closer to their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Osprey Heights hosted a lunch for the Hoaglands where they sat together and shared an anniversary cake. Four of their grandchildren each shared a toast honoring their parents’ marriage on their 70th anniversary.

At the retirement living home, George helps care for his wife.

“She’s sitting beside me and I love her very much. Of all the jobs I’ve had, taking care of my wife is the hardest job and the best job,” he said.

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Lily Belcher
Lily Belcher is a writer for the Osprey Observer. She started as an intern in the summer of 2020 and has continued to write for the Osprey Observer since completing her internship. Lily is majoring in mass communications at the University of South Florida and is a staff writer for the university’s paper, The Oracle. She enjoys writing about local nonprofit organizations and community role models who have made an impact on her hometown.