High school sweethearts retire together after working 32 years at Dollywood

A Tennessee couple officially retired after 32 years from a business that brought them as much joy as it did their customers.

Buddy and Edye Gale Houser have retired from Dollywood as of July 31, 2022.

The couple had a retirement party on July 30, then reported for work one more time on July 31, and then they were officially retired.


When Dollywood was only five years old, the high school sweethearts took jobs at Dolly Parton’s Tennessee theme park.

Neither had intended to stay at the park for long. During the summer, the retired teachers planned to work at the theme park as a temporary summer job to pay off their mortgage.

Edye Gale told WBIR she only planned to work for a couple of years. “But it didn’t work out that way.”

While Edye Gale worked in ticketing, Buddy started out in the accounting office before moving to turnstiles.

Edye Gale has worked in the front gate ticket area for 32 years. Since this team was so good, I had no desire to move anywhere else in the park.”

Although both worked in the front area of the park, they rarely crossed paths.

They loved their jobs, and they loved the people they interacted with, so it didn’t matter to them.


The couple even met The Queen of Country herself at Dollywood.

Edye Gale said, “Dolly is wonderful.”.

My brother and her went to high school together, and my brother had a few dates with her. It would take too much gas to go back to the mountains to get her. Gas cost 26 cents a gallon at the time.”

Though their time as employees has ended, the couple does not intend to leave the park for good. Their retiree passes will allow them to return as guests.

Buddy said, “This has been a great place to work, and we wouldn’t have stayed otherwise.”

Best wishes to Edye Gale and Buddy! Enjoy your retirement!

Congratulations to this happy couple on their retirement! Please share and congratulate them!

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