In the prime of his life Robert Firth was dodging bullets and caring for fellow soldiers. He was a combat medic in the 9th Army during World War II. Robert spent 18 months of his four year military career in Europe. He left the service with a Bronze Star.
A career in education followed. With a Masters in Economics and a PhD in Business Administration, Robert taught at several different colleges over the next 42 years of his life. He retired to Social Circle in 1994. Robert was 82 years old and had outlived two wives.
“I didn’t inherit longevity,” Robert said, laughing. “I’ve always exercised and lived right. I don’t drink or smoke.”
Dorothy Peterson was much the same way. She enjoyed travel – her husband of 62 years worked abroad in several countries – and she enjoyed long walks.
Three years ago Robert moved into Great Oaks Assisted Living Home in Monroe. Less than one year ago Dorothy became a resident. She had moved to Georgia to be near one of her daughters who is living in Loganville. Dorothy enjoyed taking long walks around the Great Oaks property. What she didn’t like was walking in solitude. That’s why she was quick to spy another resident taking long walks, also alone. One day Dorothy approached Robert and asked if she could walk with him.
Said she: “We became friends and after awhile we became more than friends.”
Said he: “We went walking all the time and the friendship just grew. One day we realized we were in love.”
Known as the “Love Birds” by the staff and residents of Great Oaks, Dorothy and Robert decided to do what most couples in love do – get married.
On January 11, 2014, 88 year old Dorothy and 92 year old Robert tied the knot. it was the first ever wedding at Great Oaks. Dorothy’s Maid of Honor was Christie, one of her daughters. Robert’s best man was his son, Bud, a spry 67 years old.
About 100 family and friends attended the service and reception. “It’s different,” Dorothy said about being an elderly bride. “But I feel like any bride does.”
For their honeymoon the couple spent a couple of nights in a hotel but they are planning a longer trip in the spring.
For anyone with a few years under their belt contemplating marriage, Robert offers this advice: “Follow your heart.”
Earl Gray is a freelance writer. Send comments/suggestions to email@example.com