“After 77 Years, Elderly Couple Rejoice in Long-Awaited Wedding Anniversary Celebration”

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In a heartwarming celebration of love and commitment, an elderly couple from Iowa, Frankie and Royce King, marked their 77th wedding anniversary in a truly memorable way. Their remarkable journey began on September 16, 1944, when they initially tied the knot without a proper wedding gown. However, 77 years later, in a touching ceremony organized by the compassionate staff at St. Croix Hospice on September 24, 2021, Frankie finally had the chance to don a beautiful vintage white wedding gown.

Throughout the reenacted wedding, emotions ran high, and the entire hospice staff couldn’t help but be moved by the love and devotion between Frankie and Royce. Henry Michaelson, a photographer and staff member at St. Croix Hospice, shared his profound experience, saying, “It was so hard to keep from crying behind the lens as I got to witness the emotion with this beautiful couple, and the love and compassion that their team poured into preparing this event for them.”

The couple’s daughter, Sue Bilodeau, played a pivotal role in helping her mother prepare for this special day. Royce, then 98 years old, stood beside a makeshift altar adorned with flowers, waiting for his beloved bride in his Air Force uniform.

The idea for this heartwarming reenactment came about when hospice staff inquired about the couple’s wedding pictures. Sue Bilodeau explained the circumstances of their original wedding, saying, “Mom had mentioned, ‘We got married on a two-day notice while Dad was just on a short leave…before he went overseas in World War II. And we didn’t have time to plan a big wedding.'” Frankie and Royce had been receiving exceptional care and support from St. Croix Hospice at their Oelwein home.

A few weeks prior to their anniversary, the hospice staff transformed their backyard into a 1940s-style wedding venue, complete with all the nostalgic details that defined that era.

The couple’s music therapist added to the magical atmosphere by serenading them with beloved 1940s tunes played on his saxophone and guitar. Kacie Derr, another staff member at St. Croix Hospice, fondly recalled the occasion: “The light in her eyes — I wish everyone could have seen it. She told me she felt so beautiful.”

As they stood before an archway adorned with flowers, Royce and Frankie gazed lovingly into each other’s eyes, embracing and sharing kisses. According to Bilodeau, her father’s smile upon seeing her mother was the “biggest smile in the world,” and it never faded throughout the ceremony.

The Kings, who were blessed with two children, four grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren, were surrounded by well-wishers during this special day, reliving the most cherished moment of their lives. Netizens from around the world also shared their love and support for the couple’s enduring love story.

One user expressed, “Breathtaking moments captured in so many ways.” Another shared, “This is one of the sweetest things I have seen. Thanks to hospice and all involved for making this their special day. Brought tears to my eyes. Lovely!!”

The hospice staff’s thoughtful gesture also received appreciation, with a comment stating, “What a beautiful couple! Thank you to the Hospice team for giving them such a treasured day!” Sadly, Royce passed away on February 2, 2022, but his memory lives on as a testament to enduring love. Rest in peace, Royce King.

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