- When Royce and Frankie King wed in 1944, they didn't have time to plan a big wedding or take photos.
- To celebrate the couple's 77th anniversary, hospice workers in Iowa recreated their big day and took heartwarming photos.
- The couple wore wedding outfits, cut a cake, and even did a "first look."
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Royce, 98, and Frankie, 97, from Oelwein, Iowa, celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary on September 16.
They wed in 1944 with just two days’ notice before Royce went overseas during World War II, and they didn’t have time to plan a wedding or capture any photos of the big day.
After Royce retired from the Air Force, he founded Oelwein Implement Company and worked in local schools, while Frankie worked as a dental assistant and florist as well as a homemaker, the Oelwein Daily Register’s Deb Kunkle reported.
On their 77th anniversary, staff members at St. Croix Hospice helped them recreate their 1944 nuptials and take the wedding photos they never had.
The couple receives hospice care from St. Croix at their home in Oelwein. Staff put together the anniversary celebration in their backyard.
Their daughter, Sue Bilodeau, helped Frankie into a vintage wedding dress provided by St. Croix.
Royce wore his Air Force uniform for the occasion.
The couple even incorporated a more recent trend with a “first look,” blindfolding Royce before revealing Frankie in her wedding gown.
“They escorted my dad outside, sat him down and we put a little handkerchief around his eyes,” Bilodeau told the Des Moines Register’s Isabella Rosario. “We walked Mom down the back steps and across the yard, and then she stood in front of Dad, and then I was able to take off his handkerchief. I said, ‘Are you ready to see your bride?'”
When he saw her, he had “the biggest smile in the world,” their daughter said.
They also took a classic wedding photo of a ceremonial cake cutting.
The cake featured candles in the shape of the number “77.”
Photographer and St. Croix staff member Hilary Michelson said it was hard to hold back tears while documenting the event.
“It was so hard to keep from crying behind the lens as I got to witness the emotion with this beautiful couple, and the love and compassion that their team poured into preparing this event for them,” she said in a statement provided by St. Croix. “That’s what our team strives to do at St. Croix Hospice. We go above and beyond for our patients and their families to ensure that their focus is on the quality of life and making each day and each memory count.”
Kacie Derr, a St. Croix Hospice aide who works with Frankie five days a week, was touched to see her patient so happy.
“The light in her eyes — I wish everyone could have seen it,” Derr said. “She told me she felt so beautiful. It was so touching to be a part of that. I’ve never worked for a company that would do something so wholesome and heartfelt for someone.”