By Amber Springer of Gardant Management Solutions
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect time for love stories.
Over the years, we’ve had residents meet, fall in love and get married at Gardant communities. This year, we were touched by residents who have used their move to assisted living as an opportunity to spend less time worrying about everyday tasks and more time focusing on each other and the love that brought them together.
Many of these residents are celebrating anniversaries that span several decades. Their love is inspiring.
When Juanita developed health issues that required more help than Henry could provide on his own, they knew they would need more assistance. Eventually, the couple found Cambridge House of Maryville. The location is great and the transportation service is ideal because it makes it easy for Juanita to get back and forth to her dialysis appointments. Henry also has the support he needs when he needs it. In addition to caring for his wife, Henry has been very active at the community. He helps run the country store and has taken on the role of Resident Council President.
The pair have made wonderful friends and enjoy many of the activities at Cambridge House. During a recent show at the community, an Elvis impersonator serenaded the Ramseys with a rendition of “Love Me Tender” that made everyone teary-eyed as they cheered for Henry and Juanita and their undying love for one another.
“Marriage is a two-way street,” Henry explained. “You have to give a lot of yourself. It’s hard to say sometimes because you want to think marriage is easy, but it can be hard. We’ve had our ups and downs. Being married is wonderful, but it’s work. You have to put your faith in God and work through it.”
That’s how he views the past few years and some of the health challenges that Juanita has faced. “I’ve been right by her side, and that’s where I intend to stay. That’s what I promised her all those years ago.”
The pair, who live at our affordable assisted living community in Belvidere, went to the same high school but didn’t meet until Joyce, as a freshman at the University of Minnesota, chaperoned an all-girls trip that Doug’s sister attended at a lakeside cabin near Minneapolis. The pair began dating and eventually married.
Doug served in WWII and was stationed at Navy Pier. Afterward, he attended dental school at Northwestern University. The couple moved to Belvidere where they raised four sons and Dr. Drake practiced dentistry for 41 years.
They moved into Heritage Woods of Belvidere two years ago after deciding they needed some help to maintain their independence.
Residents admire their love for each other and voted the Drakes Valentine’s Day King and Queen last year. Douglas and Joyce wore their crowns and rode in a convertible during the town’s big Heritage Days Parade last summer.
It was just another highlight of the Drakes life together.
“We’ve been married 73 ½ years,” Joyce said with the same enthusiasm that a young child has when he wants to make sure he gets credit for each and every month. “It’ll be 74 years in August!”
Reflecting on their lives together, Doug said his best marriage advice has always been to talk things out. Never go to bed mad, he said, because most times, you won’t remember the reason why you were upset in the morning.