Lawrence M. Walsh
JOLIET – They met in church, school, on a blind date and at work.
In all, 21 couples are represented at Sunny Hill Nursing Home of Will County, said Activity Director Danette Krieger. For two of the couples, both husband and wife live at the County-owned facility
On June 26, five couples celebrated their love with a renewal of their marriage vows at Sunny Hill Nursing Home of Will County.
It was part of the Happily Ever After Ball presented by the Sunny Hill Chapter of the Red Hat Society. The event included a fashion show of wedding attire and displays of wedding gowns and photos.
“It’s nice for me to celebrate with you,” said The Rev. Gavin Quinn of Mount Carmel Church in Darien. “God brought you together to live your story.”
He noted he was only 6 when Richard and Francis Katello got married. One of the couples who both live at Sunny Hill, the Katellos have been married the longest of those who renewed their vows. They have been married almost 70 years.
Wedding dresses on display came from residents, staff and members of the Friends of Sunny Hill, Inc. The oldest on display was worn by Nancy Ola Shoemaker in 1906. She was the grandmother of Freda Bertagnoli, whose gown was also on display. Freda and her husband, Ed, were also among the couples who had their marriage blessed at the ceremony. The Bertagnolis have been married nearly 59 years.
The three other couples who participated were Gail and Mark Fischer, who have been married 35 years, Collis and Edna Jones, 41 years, and Paul and Sandra Shepard, 36 years.
Alice Helenhouse modeled the dress her grandmother, Sally Johnson, a member of Friends of Sunny Hill and retired Sunny Hill activity staff member, wore on her wedding day. The dress Johnson’s mother wore also was on display. Roger Bentley, Sunny Hill’s bus driver, played the father of the bride and escorted Alice, 14.
Taylor Kurbis, daughter of Sunny Hill Beauty Operator Mary Lou Kurbis, and Jillian Reiher, daughter of Tammy Reiher, a member of the Friends of Sunny Hill, modeled bridesmaid dresses.
Natalie Willis wore a junior bridesmaid dress from a wedding she was in. She is the 9-year-old granddaughter of Maureen McIntyre, the Assistant Director of Nursing.
A common visitor at Sunny Hill, therapy dog Sophie, and her owner Claudia Green, elicited ooh’s and ahh’s as the four-legged “bride” showed off her attire.
The event to celebrate the couples during June, known as a traditional month for weddings, was the brainchild of Green, president of the Friends of Sunny Hill, and Jan Bentley, a Friends member. Both women had their wedding gowns on display.
For additional information about Sunny Hill Nursing Home of Will County, go to www.willcountyillinois.com, or visit the nursing home’s Facebook page.