Lifelong Bachelor Finally Gets Married at 93 – To the Woman He Met at His Sister’s Wedding in 1959
Who says love isn’t worth the wait?
Back in 1959, Frankie Avalon and Ricky Nelson were playing on the jukebox, Ben Hur was dominating the box office, and Joe Potenzano and Mary Elkind laid eyes on each other for the first time at his sister’s wedding.
Mary, now 83, was the groom’s cousin and maid of honor. Joe, 10 years her senior, was the best man.
Sixty-four years later, the duo is once again taking part in a wedding — only this time, it’s their own. And their love story is finally coming full circle…six decades after it first began.
The One Who Got Away
The first time Joe and Mary met, sparks flew. “I thought he was cute,” Mary recalls.
They dated briefly but then life pulled them in separate directions. Mary, a professional dancer, went on to perform at Radio City Music Hall and toured Europe with a ballet company. Joe served in the army and graduated with an engineering degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey.
In 1962, Mary got married. But not to Joe. And while he might not have been the groom, he did attend her wedding.
Mary and her husband went on to have 3 children and stayed together until his death, nine years ago. Joe remained a bachelor.
That is, until now.
“I was lonely, and I had very few friends left,” Joe told NJ.com. “But I decided that being lonely was not an option I was willing to die with.”
The consummate bachelor was finally ready to make a move.
Over the years, Mary and Joe would periodically see each other at various family gatherings. However, they always kept their distance.
But then last year, while they were both attending a family christening, Joe finally summoned up the courage to ask Mary out. She said yes.
A Romance Rekindled
The two started dating; enjoying dinners and movies, and spending hours talking on the phone.
“I say this unashamedly. I fell in love with her and she told me she fell in love with me,” Joe said. “What else do you want?”
You could say their love was written in the stars.
“I had actually wondered about Joe off and on — he’d attended my wedding, and we always saw each other at christenings and Christmas parties,” Mary told the Washington Post. “I have even wondered a few times what life would have been like if I’d married him.”
She’s about to find out.
Joe proposed last month and for the first time in 93 years, he’s going to be a groom.
Lifelong Bachelor Finds the Love of His Life Proving It’s Never Too Late
As for leaving his bachelor days behind him? Joe is more than ready.
“Yes, this is all new to me, but I’m confident there won’t be any problems,” he said. “We’re both in good health, and I haven’t met anyone yet who’s told me, ‘You dummy — love is for the young.’ That’s simply not true.”
“Older people like us deserve love too,” he added. “And we’re going to give it our best in the years we have left.”
Their families agree. Mary’s daughter, Sue Elkind, 55, says her mom is acting like a teenager again. “She has that giddy spirit that comes out when you’re in love. We’re really happy for both of them.”
The happy couple plans on tying the knot in October and will honeymoon in Cape Cod before settling into the rest of their golden years — together.
There’s a saying, “Love is wasted on the young.” But as Joe and Mary prove, this is far from true. Because when it comes to love? You’re never too old and it’s never too late.
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