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Romances bloom at Fox Run

Five couples who tied the knot later in life

Created date

August 9th, 2010

When romances bud at Fox Run, weddings sometimes follow. Since the community opened in 2003, five couples have officially vowed, I do. Here are some chapters from their stories.

Early wedding bells

Three marriages took place in 2005. Agnes and Lee Hilving, who married on St. Patrick s Day, were first. (See Love makes a splash on page 5.) Jack and Jane Wolfe were next, on June 18. He s an avid golfer. She s the longtime chair of the Fine Arts committee who arrangesFox Run sgroup trips to Detroit Symphony Orchestra s Coffee Concerts, the city s art institute, and Michigan Opera Theatre rehearsals. Faithful Coffee Concert ticket holders John and Ruth Horne were the third couple to marry. They met at a swing dancing class on campus. He asked if I would be his partner at the class, she says. It ended up that I became his partner for life. Sometimes you seem to be happy with a person from the beginning, says her husband. As their relationship grew, he suggested it would be nice if they could travel together. She told him she didn t travel with men. Well, he said, then we ll have to get married. On July 30, they did.

It was in the cards

Fast-forward to 2009, when two marriages took place a month apart. Connie Buydens had barely moved toFox Runwhen she met Jim Paul at a duplicate bridge game. Shortly after, she says, a man called and asked me to be his partner the next week. I hoped it was Jim, and it was. Besides bridge, they found they shared a love of theater and a strong faith in God. When she said she was looking for a church she d moved from Grosse Pointe Shores he invited her to his, Hope Lutheran in Farmington Hills. It was nice to find someone I could talk to. I definitely wasn t looking for a romantic relationship, she says, but this is a good place to develop a friendship and see where it goes. He took the lead in that department. Early last year, he brought her to a mystery location. They ended up at a jewelry store. I want to buy you a ring and get engaged, he said. Although they had already professed their love and passed muster with each other s families, I was floored, she admits. He says he s been smiling ever since she said yes. They married July 11 at Hope Lutheran Church, honeymooned in Puerto Rico, and moved to a two-bedroom-plus-den, Wentworth style apartment home at Fox Run. It provides an office for him and a crafts room for the bead lady she teaches jewelry making atFox Run. He s on the grief support committee, and together they attend Bible study and belong to Befrienders, a campus group that helps people cope through difficult situations. And speaking of friends atFox Run, within a month of Paul s wedding, his best friend Vic Mesenbring followed suit.

Fox Run s Newman and Woodward

As often as they tease one another through quick wit and lively barbs, you d think Gerri Flowers and Vic Mesenbring married decades ago instead of last August. He says she kept her surname because she thought it was nicer than his. She says one of his best qualities is that he vacuums. He chuckles. I hope you catch that we get along very well. He d noticed the tall blonde well before they officially met in 2008 at aFox Runclub expo. As chair of the pinochle group, she was sitting at its display table. I walked by, and she talked me into coming to Thursday night pinochle, he says. I told her I hadn t played in 40 years, but I would come. Then he won! she says with mock indignation. He won for several weeks! He was winning at more than pinochle. In no time, he began walking her home every Thursday night. Her terrace apartment home in the Wood Bridge residence building was on the way to his apartment in Hickory Grove. Just about as far apart as you can get, he says. But he needed the exercise, she quips. Her patio became a rest stop for those cross-campus treks. The two discussed their similar experiences his life as a Lutheran pastor, her Lutheran upbringing and long marriage to a Presbyterian minister, her four children and his five. We just kind of clicked, he says. She was so easy to talk with. Their repartee continued. They even talked, rather than danced, through a Fox Run gala. For all that conversation, he never actually proposed, but he believes he suggested they think about marriage. She didn t say yes, but she didn t decline either, he says. A good thing, he adds, because he was getting tired of those 11 p.m. hikes. Married at Hope Lutheran, where Mesenbring had pastored, they held their reception inFox Run sDerby Room and moved to a two-bedroom, two-bath Kingston apartment home. Yes, they have a patio. But their favorite room is the larger bedroom, which they ve furnished with their recliners, TV, and computers to create a family room. They still play pinochle, and they volunteer at Providence Park Hospital. But they also do their own things he s taken up woodworking in the hobby shop, for example, and schedules speakers for Fox Run s interdenominational Wednesday night vesper services. But when they come home now, things are different. Somebody s waiting for you, she says. Before, I d return and there was no one to share things with. I didn t come here looking for a man, she adds. I thought life here was wonderful! But then I got the bonus. I found love.

Love makes a splash

[caption id="attachment_13531" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Howard and Agnes Hilving were the first Fox Run couple to marry. They met in the swimming pool. "][/caption] Agnes and Howard Hilving met atFox Runin 2004 in the community s all-season swimming pool. As he swam lap after lap after lap, she couldn t help but notice his athletic skill. He noticed her, too, and swam over to say hello. My goodness, she told him, what stamina you have. That s all the encouragement he needed, and the two of them began a conversation that continues to this day. In fact, he says he knew immediately that she was the one for him. It took her a little longer. I thought my life was pretty well set, she says. The idea of marrying again had never entered her mind. Then, she says, at very odd moments when I was with him, especially when he would fall asleep in his chair, I thought, This man really needs me, but I don t think he realizes he does. Perhaps in taking care of him, we could take care of each other as a couple. It was a wonderful revelation. It took a series of natural disasters to separate them. After four hurricanes raked the state of Florida, Mr. Hilving flew down to check on his property there. Before he left, he told his sweetheart he loved her. After much soul-searching, she went to Florida, intent on saying face-to-face that they should stay just friends. But the right time to say those words never materialized. Instead, they married at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Fla., on St. Patrick s Day 2005. We re settled in now, says Mrs. Hilving. Love grows and has a way of becoming very satisfying in the continuity of life that s what s so beautiful. We re not in the romance stage. We ve found a different, deeper kind of love.