Couple tie knot after nursing home romance

Published 8:41 pm Friday, December 2, 2016

Love can be found in the most unexpected places.

Shady Lawn Nursing Home is the setting of Jamie Hill, 57, and Marvin Howard’s, 88, love story.

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The pair met about a year ago playing dominos and bingo in the game room. They were both relatively new to Shady Lawn and liked spending time together.

“That’s a good way to meet,” she said.

Hill told Howard she liked him first, he said, and Howard knew he liked her too.

“She came and sat down beside me playing dominos and said ‘Oh, I like you.’ and I said ‘I like you, too,’” he said. “We’ve been dating ever since.”

A few months later he asked her to marry him, but she said she wanted to wait three to six more months before giving an answer. Like clockwork, he asked again three months later, and she accepted.

“I told him yes so we went to talk to Donnie (Richards), the administrator (at Shady Lawn),” Hill said.

After talking with the social workers and the nursing home administration, everyone gave their seal of approval on the marriage and the planning began.

“They went out of their way to please both of us,” Hill said. “I was really, really shocked about how things went.”

Hill said she chose to take Howard up on his proposal, in part, because of his heart for Christ.

“He loves the Lord, and I love the Lord, too. We went to church together, and God put us together I think. If you put God first, everything turns out for the good,” she said.

Howard said he wanted to marry Hill because they were both lonesome and in need of a companion who could help each other “iron out their problems.”

“I prayed for a decent wife, and God sent her to me,” he said.

The couple was nervous on the big day, Friday, Dec. 2. Howard woke up at 6 a.m. and couldn’t stand to be away from Hill, so the two spent a good majority of their morning together before the 2 p.m. nuptials.

“There wasn’t any way to hide from him,” Hill said. “The social worker caught us together, of all things, and she said, ‘That’s all right.’”

The Rev. Phillip Burks of Belmont M.B. Church in Utica married the couple. He hosts a weekly Bible class at Shady Lawn.

“We love the preacher; he came and talked to us. After the preacher came, I settled down,” Hill said.

Even though she settled down, as Hill waited in her room to go down the aisle, she shook with anxious excitement. The ceremony and reception were held in a back room of the nursing home with residents and staff on hand to watch.

The couple had a tiered cake, refreshments and sparkling cider. Hill even tossed the bouquet to a group of eagerly waiting friends.

When asked how it felt to be married, Howard said it felt familiar. This is Hill’s second and Howard’s third marriage, and he said this time wasn’t all that different.

Hill said Howard would be moving into her room this weekend.