Marriage & Life Partners · Relationships & Dating

December Romance: The Story of Ann and Jerry

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(Photo: Brian Kent)

Marriage? “It was never an issue with us; we never talked very much about it,” Ann says. “We never had any insecurities about each other’s feelings that some people have. They think, ‘Well, if you get married, then you’re really committed, since it’s a contract.’” Ann and Jerry never felt they had to marry to be committed.

But last year, during their trip to Rovinj, Croatia, Jerry decided to propose—simply because, Ann says, “he thought it would make me happy and I had done everything else in life.” So, as they sat at an outdoor café in the port at sunset, he suddenly went down on one knee and presented her with a cardboard box bearing a Murano glass ring he’d bought for 10 euros the day before.

“I was speechless and a little scared,” she admits. “He said how much he loved me and that we’d been together for 10 years, and he would like us to be together for 20 more. And I thought, ‘Twenty years more! He’ll be 100!’ She was speechless.

“He looked at me and said, ‘If you don’t say yes, you cannot have the ring.’ So we both started laughing, and I said yes, and we both cried.”

They were married in the Joy of Motion Dance Studio, which is a part of the Atlas Performing Arts Center in D.C., where Ann is on the Board of Directors. They scheduled their wedding for the evening the Performing Arts Center was holding its annual fund-raising gala. Ann and Jerry bought tickets to the gala for all the wedding guests. She “had gala responsibilities to complete,” so she was busy until an hour and a half before the wedding. She used one of the center’s dressing rooms and quickly threw together her bouquet, put on her own makeup, and called a friend to help her get into her dress.

The couple will continue their prenuptial lifestyle: They live in separate houses in Northern Virginia, 35 minutes apart, on weekdays and live together on the weekends. “This is very convenient: During the week he has his activities and I have mine,” she says. “It works for us.”

Has being married made any difference? Ann hesitates. “Not really,” she says. “I’d like to have a different feeling, but I don’t. I said to Jerry, ‘Do you feel any different?’ and he said ‘No, not really, because we’re still living the same life we lived before’ Still, the word ‘husband’ is so foreign to Ann that “when people say ‘husband,’ it’s like a foreign language.”

Their belated honeymoon trip, when they get back in April from being snowbirds in Florida, will take them to the Jazz and Heritage Festival In New Orleans; then, in May, they are off to Geneva and Paris.

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  • george detsis April 19, 2020 at 11:34 am

    I met Ann 43 yrs. ago while working for her at GGNRA. She is a great lady; kind, compassionate and caring for all her employees. Having graduated from the U. of MD. and traveling across country, Ann was the first person I saw in San Francisco. She put me up for a couple of nights before I started my seasonal assignment working on Hill 88 with underprivileged youth. Many years later, we stopped off at Fort Oglethorpe and later Ellis Island for brief visits with my family. Wishing Ann and Jerry happiness and good health.

  • hillsmom February 16, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    A wonderful story. I’ve 3 friends of quite an age who have recently remarried after being widowed. Two actually married men they had known in high school, and the third a widower she met in church. How lovely to find someone to share the rest of your days with.

  • Bernadette Kleinman February 15, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    What a beautiful story. Quite inspirational. I suppose there is still hope to meet someone to share life adventures with.

  • Susanna Gaertner February 15, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Zenobia, ditto on all counts!

  • Zenobia February 14, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    i just want to say this is a beautiful love story…just in time for Valentine’s Day and there is so much hope and determination here! Thanks for sharing…I am sixty seven…so I shall not give up!

  • Susanna Gaertner February 12, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    …I’d also like the answer to that question! Please let me know if you find it…….

  • Nora Brossard February 12, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    I loved the story, and they are a gorgeous couple. She’s got quite a figure in that dress. I love the way they’ve figured out how to live, and that they don’t have to be in each other’s pockets all the time. How can I find someone like Jerry?

  • Andrea February 12, 2015 at 8:28 am

    Truly a love story. Ann did it her way. Wonderful. Wishing them all the best

  • Caryl Avery February 11, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Sweet article. And I bet Ann’s arms look as great as the rest of her! Debbie always knocks ’em out of the park–this time out of the National Park.

  • Susanna Gaertner February 10, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    The very best possible Valentine’s Day story for all the middle- and old-oldies who do not have partners: there is hope yet!!!!
    I agree with Toni: amazing to start a new chapter at 75, though in a sense it’s “just” the continuation of all that this lovely couple has already worked out for themselves.
    And don’t they both look superb! So pretty, so handsome…….

  • ellen sue spicer-jacobson February 10, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Mazel tov!!!

  • SISSY February 10, 2015 at 11:38 am


  • Toni Myers February 10, 2015 at 11:37 am

    A brilliant life. The bride makes it all seem easy. yet she has worked hard for all the luck she speaks of.
    Amazing to start a new chapter at 75, I tip my hat to Ann.