The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

February 16, 2014

‘I do’ again

9 couples renew vows at senior apartments

HERMITAGE — It’s even sweeter the second time around.

Beverly and Richard Liston were flying high after they renewed their wedding vows on Saturday alongside nine other couples in front of about 100 family and friends.

“It meant even more to me this time,” Beverly said, tearing up.

The couple were married 61 years ago in July.

When Richard, 81, suffered chest pains in the morning, Beverly, 79, was afraid they’d miss the event they’d been looking forward to for months.

The vow-renewal ceremony at Whispering Oaks in Hermitage was presided over by Cary Parsons, registered chaplain, who doubles as the maintenance manager during week.

It was the first time the senior living apartments held a renewal of vows ceremony in its 14 years of operation.

Enrichment coordinator Lisa Ulasz came up with the idea. When the event was announced it started the excitement rolling among the 13 married couples living in the building, she said.

“I wanted to do something different. To see so many couples happy and still married at this age,” Ulasz said. “We usually have a couples’ dance for Valentine’s Day.”

Of all the couples renewing their vows, Dr. Joe and Dorothy Bolotin were married the longest at 76 years.

Grace Holland, 78, and Cary Holland, 83, married 58 years, were not planning on taking part in the events because they renewed their vows for their 50th wedding anniversary.

“I’m glad I did because I like what Cary (Parsons) had to say about it,” Grace said. “Because God has to be within your marriage to make it work.”

During the service, Parsons said he thinks there’s too much talk about the high divorce rate and not enough about successful marriages.

“Most young people don’t give it a chance,” Grace said. “The first years are kind of rough.”

The Hollands have no pictures of their wedding because they were destroyed years ago in a fire at their photographer’s house.

That didn’t stop Grace from remembering the day down to the smallest details.

They were married in January 1956 on a snowy day as rain and sleet poured down.

“I always told my girls never get married in the winter,” Grace said.

The colors were eggshell and baby blue, and she wore a princess style dress with a Queen Anne neckline.

The Hollands have three daughters, 10 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

Shirley Forney, 88, and husband Nick, 89, were the newlyweds of the group. They were married Dec. 12, 1992, when they were both in their late 60s.

“They get the “Do Not Disturb sign,” Parsons joked.

They lived in the same trailer park after their spouses died. One day he saw her sitting by the mailboxes there and drove her home because she sprained her ankle.

“I’ve loved her ever since.”

Beverly Liston was so excited when she heard about the vow renewal that she signed them up before her husband could agree or disagree.

“I wondered why I had the only chair out there with the seatbelt,” Richard joked. “When Cary said we could leave and get up, she just pulled it tighter.”

The Listons were happy to make the renewal of their vows a family affair.

Richard’s brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Eleanor Liston, married 54 years, sat alongside the couple and also renewed their vows.

Two of Beverly’s and Richard’s three children were there also.

“I wasn’t at their first wedding so I had to come today,” joked their daughter, Terri Miller, 56.

The Listons also have a son, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

“We love it here,” Beverly said. “We do lots of volunteering.”

Richard calls bingo the three times a week Whispering Oaks holds it. Beverly plays 65 rummy every night with other ladies.

“He never goes to bed until nine when I come in,” Beverly said.

For Valentine’s Day, the Listons traveled to a casino the center takes frequent trips to, and she cleared $112.

Beverly said they have a cleaning lady at Whispering Oaks and a great chef who cooks three meals a day.

“I don’t have to cook anymore,” Beverly said.

Richard thinks very highly of Parsons, as chaplain and maintenance man.

“If you have a problem at breakfast, Cary will have it fixed by the time you get back up,” Richard said. “He told me when we came here that I’d never change a light bulb again.”

The celebration was moved to the dining room at 2 p.m., where Chef Stephen Brandt presented a six-tiered wedding cake, and Butch Nicols & Company performed oldies and big band music.

Other couples who renewed their vows were: Meg and Jack Reyer, married 68 years; Art and Millie Langford, married 65 years; Ruth and Ed Wilson, married 65 years; and Alan and Susan Kovacik, married 10 years.

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