RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio - Under a pergola decked with lace bows and fresh flowers, 12 couples renewed their vows to each other. Some after 69 years of marriage.
In a ceremony officiated by Rev. Keith Grove of Hillcrest Community Church, 24 brides and grooms strode, wheeled and even "walkered" their way through a rose petal-laced, curved concrete walkway to the white trellis placed in the middle of The Waterford, a senior living community on Richmond Road.
The Waterford's staff feverishly took the ceremony, aimed at renewing marriage vows originally sworn during WWII, so seriously one might have thought they were professional wedding planners.
Blooming love still could be felt in the air Friday as each couple held their partner's hand, said "I do" and walked to an elaborate reception through a crowd blowing bubbles in the June air for each couple.
Remembering their original wedding in 1951 under a picture frame filled with memories of that day, Jim and Shirley Hagerty made it clear it has been a lot of hard work, but always with a lot of love.
"The day we got married? Ha! Well, it was interesting because my mother-in-law was not very fond of me, really not fond of me" laughed Shirley Hagerty. "He was Irish-German and I was Slovak."
"Eventually she came to me one day and said I was good for him."
The key to the Hagertys' 62 years of marriage?
"We kiss each other good night and say I love you," said Shirley.
The couples renewing their marriage vows were as follows:
Couples: Original wedding date: Years of marriage:
Henry & Ruth Hemry 10/16/1948 65
Richard & Marna Thomas 1 1/24/1951 62
Walter & Jean Smrekar 6/28/1944 69
Walter & Nancy Shibko 10/24/1959 54
William & MaryEllen Ritchey 8/28/1993 20
Joseph & Margaret Zaffuto 1/20/1951 62
George & Vera Powers 8/13/1953 60
Henry & Victoria Skarbez 7/03/1948 65
Joseph & Hiawatha Crandell 3/10/1946 67
Alex & Paula Gregory 5/02/1956 57
Pasquale & Yolanda Santarelli 4/24/1954 59
Jim & Shirley Hagerty 9/01/1951 62
For information on Waterford call 216-289-9800, or go to: www.waterfordatrichmondheights.com
Still photos courtesy of: Lynne Browske- Sports Photography