Widowed no more

by Jim Boyle

Bob and Corrine Jones both have celebrated a 50th wedding anniversary, but not with each other.

These two love birds have only been together for the last decade. They will celebrate their 10th anniversary in August.

Bob and Corrine Jones

They were Elk River neighbors in the 1960s and most of the 1970s. Bob, now 88, was good friends with Corrine’s husband, Art, and Corrine, now 85, was good friends with Bob’s wife, Joy. Their kids grew up together.

But Art and Corrine Erickson moved to South Dakota in the late 1970s due to a job transfer.

When Art died in 1997, that left a hole in Erickson’s life. If she could have convinced one of her kids to move out there, she would have stayed in South Dakota.

But she couldn’t and returned in 1998. Her return included getting back to Central Lutheran Church in Elk River, where she had many friends. “It was just like a homecoming,” she said.

Among her friends were Bob and Joy Jones. When a brain tumor took Joy from Bob in 2001, he too felt a major hole in his life. He was a widower for about a year when it became clear he would struggle to remain alone. Life would become too monotonous.

“I needed somebody to talk to, and somebody to look after,” Bob said.

That’s when Cupid must have waved his magic wand and created a spark between these two individuals.

“It was the best thing that could have happened for us,” Bob recalled.

They went to dinners, symphonies and enjoyed quiet time together. After a year of dating, Bob proposed marriage to a stunned Corrine at the Rainforest Cafe at the Mall of America.

“What have I got to lose?” he said he thought to himself.

Corrine was intrigued but did want some time to think about it. She needed to talk to her kids. She needed to think about it for herself.

After some thought, she said yes. A year later they were married at Central Lutheran, where so many of their shared friends attend. In addition to their children, the couple have 24 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

Valentine’s Day is not too big of a deal for the couple. Every day is a big deal.

“We celebrate every day together,” Bob says to a nodding bride.

“We’re thankful for every day,” Corrine adds.

When the whole family gets together — as it often does — it’s wall to well people.

The couple says they will probably mark Valentine’s Day by going out to dinner, but nothing too fancy. The truth of the matter is they hadn’t discussed it until the call from the Star News came.

“(Valentine’s) is a  day to be aware of how fortunate we are to celebrate being together,” Bob said. “We have a good life together.”