Happy Valentine’s Day from our Concordia family to yours! When we think of love, we often think of lines etched on Hallmark cards. Phrases like: “I’ll love you for eternity,” “Good things in life are better with you,” and even “The secret to a happy marriage remains a secret,” can evoke some wonderful – or even colorful memories.
For one couple at Concordia Village of Tampa, their testament of love is far greater than anything expressed in a one-line greeting.
Moving to Tampa to enjoy the sunshine and socialize nearly five years ago, Francis Stanton never imagined she would meet her husband at the place she was going to enjoy retirement.
Richard Stanton on the other hand, knew immediately that Francis was the one. He met his soon-to-be wife after several chance encounters on the day trips and was immediately drawn to her outgoing personality.
“I didn’t know he was chasing me at the time,” Francis said. “He always coincidentally ended up sitting or walking next to me.”
After their first few encounters, the couple began socializing a bit more.
Their first date was at a local Starbucks.
“When he took me out, I told him I never want to get married again,” Francis protested. “New friends are always good to have.”
With a bit of persistence, Richard eventually convinced his darling otherwise, and proposed a few months later on a sunny day at the same Starbucks, on Valentine’s Day in 2015.
“When I proposed to her, I told her I can’t get on my knees or I’ll never get up again,” Richard said with a laugh.
Realizing they didn’t want to wait, they tied the knot exactly one month later, on March 14, 2015 at the Chapel at Concordia Village of Tampa, surrounded by friends and family.
“We knew at our age there was no point to waiting,” Francis said. “So, we decided it was best to be married.”
The remarkable part of this couple’s story however, isn’t their unique tale of love, but rather, their adventurous spirits.
Last December Richard soared over 10,000 feet seated in the cockpit of a biplane at the age of 98. Next year, he hopes to zipline over the Grand Canyon.
Formerly an engineer for General Motors in Indianapolis, he worked in the Aircraft Division for nearly 40 years.
“It was very interesting and a lot of electrical work,” Richard said. “In one sense I kind of hated retiring because of the new technology coming out, but retirement has been great.”
Richard moved to Concordia Village of Tampa to be closer to one of his two sons.
Francis, although supportive of her husband’s endeavors, doesn’t always take part in his ambitious feats. But at the age of 90, she still joins in on the fun occasionally. Last year they decided to try out a wind-simulation tunnel together.
“Richard is super adventurous,” Francis said. “He tells me something he wants to try next and I think, ‘oh geez, okay.’
Francis worked as a medical secretary in Syracuse, New York before staying home full-time to raise her three children. She eventually decided to move to the sunshine state after several of her friends recommended Concordia.
“It was the best decision I’ve ever made,” Francis said.
In addition to their adventurous lifestyle, the couple actively volunteers in the Concordia community. Working at both convenience stores on campus, Francis assumes the role of collecting and counting the money each day. She also volunteers with the Medical Society and serves as a delegate for the Resident Association.
Richard volunteers with the Medical Society as well, working alongside his sweetheart. His big project, however, is recycling. Every day, Richard goes around campus and takes the used cans to a facility to be broken down. He then donates the proceeds to the Resident Association.
Still planning their next adventure, the couple are the current “Wii Bowling League Champions,” and “Jigsaw Puzzle Champions,” facing off against other residents and staff members in tournaments.
“That’s the key to staying young,” Francis said. “Always keep involved.”
The husband and wife still visit the same Starbucks each year to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Their relationship advice for others is simple.
“Keep busy, keep loving each other and that’ll keep it going real well,” Richard said.
Francis added, “Be ready to compromise if you have to. Most importantly, be understanding to each other and have respect for each other. That’s what makes it easy.”
If you have a great Valentine’s Day love story, share it with us in the comments below or post it on our Facebook page!
Many residents like Francis and Richard move to retirement communities to stay social and active. To learn more about the outstanding amenities and activities offered to residents at Concordia Village of Tampa as well as our locations in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio, visit www.ConcordiaRetirement.org or schedule a tour today. You can also call our administrative headquarters at (724) 352-1571 or message us through the Contact Form on our website.
There is always a LOT happening at Concordia! Would you like to stay up-to-date with our news and events? Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter here.