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New York Couple Married For 70 Years Reunited After Months Apart

by : Cameron Frew on : 28 May 2020 14:41
New York Couple Married For 70 Years Reunited After Months ApartNew York Couple Married For 70 Years Reunited After Months ApartCBS 6

After 70 years of marriage, this New York couple had been apart for months due to current pandemic restrictions. Finally, they’re back in one another’s arms. 

Jean and Walter Willard tied the knot before they were 20 years old. In the decades since, they’ve had two daughters – Wendy Willard and Wanda Glenn – and opened up Willard Steer House Station restaurants in Troy, Cohoes, and Clifton Park.

For the majority of their lives, the pair have been inseparable. Unfortunately, the current outbreak meant they couldn’t see each other for their own safety – until now.

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Couple Reunited After Coronavirus Restrictions 2Couple Reunited After Coronavirus Restrictions 2CBS 6

On Thursday, May 28, Jean and Walter’s family were sent a video from nursing home staff of the pair seeing each other again. ‘Oh honey I’m so happy to see you,’ Jean said to him before sharing a smooch.

Up until last year, the couple had been in relatively good health. However, that changed when Jean, 89, fell and broke her pelvis. With that injury, as well as showing signs of dementia, she was moved to the Eddy Memorial Geriatric Center.

Couple Reunited After Coronavirus Restrictions 3Couple Reunited After Coronavirus Restrictions 3CBS 6
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Thankfully for Walter, 91, the care home was just around the corner from their house, so he was a regular visitor. ‘My dad would go over there every day and spend most of every day, in the beginning he was there all day from the morning until night when she went to bed,’ Wendy told CBS 6.

‘Then the virus happened,’ Wendy said, and restrictions were put in place that meant Walter couldn’t see Jean, who’d cry and wonder why he hadn’t visited. ‘He went downhill so quickly when he couldn’t see her,’ she added.

Couple Reunited After Coronavirus Restrictions 4Couple Reunited After Coronavirus Restrictions 4CBS 6

Walter recently suffered a brain bleed after taking a fall, later undergoing surgery at Albany Medical Center. His daughters hoped they could move him into Eddy Memorial Geriatric Center with their mother. However, it was unable to go ahead while the facility was on precautionary lockdown.

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Both daughters then wrote a letter to the director appealing to let Walter in, as Wendy explained: 

I told him what we were afraid of, we’re afraid we’re going to lose one of them and they’re never going to have seen each other again, and I asked: ‘Is there anything you can do? We’re willing to take the risk, my dad is willing to take the risk.’ He immediately called me and said: ‘Absolutely, we want to do this for you!’

When they heard the news, Wanda wept with relief. Now, Jean and Walter share a room in the same nursing home, and their kids hope to visit them soon.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Life, Coronavirus, COVID-19, elderly, Marriage, New York, Now, Nursing Homes, Relationships

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CBS 6
  1. CBS 6

    Couple separated during the pandemic reunites at Troy nursing home