After 67 Years, Bells Still Ringing For Area Pair, Leominster Couple Renew Wedding Vows
Those were the remarks of the Rev. James Craig of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church as he officiated at the renewal of the wedding vows of Hildur Marsh and Leonard Marsh. The couple, who will observe their 67th wedding anniversary June 19, renewed their vows in front of family and friends during a recent ceremony held at the Cortland House where the couple now make their home. Hildur is 87; Leonard is 91.
About 40 people attended the ceremony which was held in the main living room of the assisted living facility. “I asked them if they would be willing to do this in February because it’s the month of hearts and love,” said Lorna LeBlanc, life enrichment coordinator at Cortland House,.
“It’s really a great love story,” LeBlanc said. “There aren’t too many couples out there that can boast of this type of accomplishment. It’s remarkable.” The ivory-colored wedding dress Hildur Marsh wore was borrowed as was the bouquet of silk flowers that she carried. The black tuxedo Leonard Marsh wore was on loan from Rene’s Formal Wear of Leominster.
As the bride and groom walked down the hallway into the main living room at Cortland House, those in attendance could be heard saying, “Doesn’t he look handsome?” and “She looks so cute!” After the couple made their way to the front of the room, Craig began the ceremony. “It’s such a blessing to be here,” he said. “I usually get this at the beginning of the marriage, not 67 years into it.”
Craig read a copy of the wedding vows that were used when the Marshes were married: “To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death.”
After reading them, he looked at the couple and said. “And you’ve kept those wedding vows, haven’t you?” “Yes, we have,” Leonard Marsh said. “It was a lot, but we did.” The reverend then asked the couple to renew their vows, which they did. He blessed the couple, thanking them for letting him participate in the ceremony. “They look great, don’t they?” Craig added.
“We thank the Lord for all the years we have had together,” Leonard Marsh said. “We’ve tried over the years to please each other and that’s the secret.” The couple thanked all who attended the ceremony, noting that they have many friends who also live at Cortland House.
“We’re all like a family here,” Hildur Marsh added. “We have our ups and downs, but we’re all friends.” “I can’t believe everything the Cortland House has done in preparing for this ceremony,” said Doris Cory, the couple’s daughter.
Cory and her son, John, and his children Abigail and Trevor, attended the ceremony. Cory’s husband John was in Mexico on business and could not attend. Her other son, James, lives in Seattle and also could not attend the ceremony.
“I’m glad that we had family and friends here videotaping the whole thing because it really is a once-in-a-lifetime event,” she said. “I’m so excited for the both of them; it’s really been a wonderful day.”
A wedding cake was donated by the Dutch Kitchen Bakery of Fitchburg. A wedding meal featuring prime rib and seafood casserole was prepared by the culinary staff at Cortland House and served after the ceremony.
Entertainment, which included music and dancing, was provided by Dave Burns. Arrangements for the ceremony were made by members of the Cortland House staff.