A Match Made in Heaven

by | Feb 1, 2013 | Bridal

A Marriage is a happy occasion but when the blushing bride is 82 and her tap, handsome groom is 77, the event is doubly blessed.
Charles Holloway, a widower from Delaware, Ark., and Marcella Melton, a widow from Altus, married on January 19 at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Altus. The wedding was attended by 165 guests with a short wedding ceremony followed by a reception with dinner and dancing at St. Mary’s Lawrence Hall.

Carrying white roses, the bride wore a blush colored street length suit with lace camisole and jewelry purchased for her by the groom, who wore a suit and boutonniere. The four wedding attendants were Melton’s two daughters, Michelle Nunnelee and Luann Berry who dressed in black and carried white bouquets, and two sons Randal Melton and Edward Melton who both escorted their mother down the aisle to the music of Pachelbel’s Canon. Holloway, who did not have children from his first marriage, said he was very happy to gain four stepchildren, five step-grand children and six great grand children. Melton’s family also expressed great pleasure that Holloway, whom they call Charlie, had joined their family.
“Our relationship is a match made in heaven, or at least in the pursuit of heaven,” said Holloway. The happy couple met at St. Mary’s Catholic Church where they have both been life- long members in good standing. In fact, both of their deceased spouses are buried in the same church cemetery and Holloway’s and Melton’s first weddings each took place at the church parish.
For those not familiar with St. Mary’s Catholic Church, the beautiful stone church with its many stained glass windows and exquisitely painted interior, sits high on a bluff overlooking Altus and the Arkansas River Valley.
Devote Catholics, the couple had to go through seven pages of paperwork to get married.”St. Mary’s new priest Father David Bellinghausen wanted to make sure everything was done right and had us contact the Church Diocese office in Little Rock about attending Pre-Cana classes. Pre-Cana is a series of counseling sessions that engaged couples are expected to complete before the wedding. So, I called the Diocese office about Pre-Cana. When the woman I spoke with learned how old we were, she said we did not need to attend Pre Cana after all and we happy about that, said Melton.

During the wedding ceremony, Father Bellinghausen gave a homily stressing the importance of connection between people whether they are young or old. “Hope springs eternal!” he said.
Melton has a deep family connection to St. Mary’s Church that goes back more than a century. Her grandfather, John J. Sax, helped build the impressive stone church in 1901 and Melton herself was born, raised and lived in Altus most of her life. Holloway also has lifetime family ties in the area and is cousin to the Holloway Peach Orchard family.

The happy couple actually began their courtship in church, said Melton. “Charles was well known as making the best sauerkraut in the parish and one day before Mass he asked if he could sit in the pew with me. We had casually know each other for many years, and as I had been a widow since 1995 and Charles became a widower in 2011, I said he was welcome to sit when me. Since I was already fond of his sauerkraut, I mentioned that I really liked it. Well, the next week he sat next to me during Mass and brought along a surprise. It was two pints of his sauerkraut. “
I think that sauerkraut pretty much “sealed the deal”, said Melton with a happy laugh.” We match up pretty good and we just have so much fun together-we feel like “recycled teenagers”, gushed Melton, who calls Holloway “darling”.
Despite their ages, the couple stays active. Holloway keeps busy with the Knight of Columbus and the St. Joseph Society at St. Mary’s Church and both are active volunteers for the church and the Franklin County Senior Citizen’s Center in Ozark. Melton was the Director of the Ozark Child Development Center from its opening in 1966 until her retirement in 2000. Still active and energetic, Melton takes yoga and “Silver Sneaker” exercise classes to stay in shape.

As “recycled teenagers”, the couple also enjoys dancing. “We’ve been trying to stay in pretty good shape to get out there on the dance floor (at the reception). I think we’ll do fine but we’ll have to be careful – we sure don’t want to literally hit the floor,” said the bubbly octogenarian.Not surprisingly, the couple danced several times during their wedding reception, buoyed by the beat of the DJ and surrounded by their friends and loved ones.
DJ Scott Schmitz, of LD & P Production noted this wedding had “by far, the oldest bride and groom” he had ever worked for and also said the couple was one of the easiest to work with.
“I think couples get some perspective with age. Older brides are much more relaxed. They seem to understand that the purpose of the event is to be married, not to have some kind of perfect fantasy wedding,” said Schmitz. “There is something special about a couple who just wants to be married.”
The morning after the wedding, the family got together for a post wedding breakfast and everyone pitched in to clean up the reception hall. “Our family is an exception to the rule because we always work together. We just took Charlie into our hearts and love him so much. He’s one of us now!” said Nunnelee.
Nunnelee also noted how much the newlyweds seemed to love and embrace life together. Charlie told me he feels like my mom is his “lucky shining penny” and Mom says he is her all time favorite “teddy bear” because he is always there to give her unconditional love.
“We think everything is just perfect,” agreed the newlyweds. The couple plans to divide their time between their two homes, the church they love, gardening, dancing and making sauerkraut.

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