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Late-blooming love

Couple’s retirement romance leads to the altar

Created date

January 30th, 2015
picture of married couple

For Oscar and Jackie Burchard, the road to matrimony was a 34-year journey.

Oscar and Jackie met in New York City in 1974 when they both worked for W.R. Grace, a Maryland-based chemical conglomerate.

“We worked in the same department but not directly with each other,” says Jackie. “Somehow, we learned that we shared a birthday, September 9.”

A year later, Jackie was transferred to Denver, and Oscar was transferred to Dallas.

“We kept in touch because we were still working for the same division,” says Jackie.

Six months later, Oscar, who’s originally from Berlin, left W.R. Grace and moved back to New York to work for a German company.

“We eventually lost track of each other,” says Jackie, who left W.R. Grace in 1983 and moved back to her hometown of Waco, Tex.

Online connection

Their paths didn’t cross again until Oscar retired and returned to North Texas, where his son’s family was living. Oscar purchased a home in Denton County, where he was appointed a director of the Upper Trinity Regional Water District.

“It was my retirement job,” he says.

In 2006, Oscar moved to Springs, the Erickson Living community in North Dallas.

“My wife had passed away, and I wanted to live someplace where I could still be independent but have access to health care if I needed it,” says Oscar, who selected a one-bedroom, one-bath “bachelor pad.”

Meanwhile, Jackie was working for a lawyer who had a case that involved the Brazos River Authority.

“My boss asked me to do some research for the case, and I ran across a year-old online article about Oscar and his work with the water district,” says Jackie. “I sent him an email asking if he was the same Oscar Burchard who used to work in New York.”

Jackie received a lengthy email reply less than ten minutes later. 

“That was the start of our correspondence,” says Oscar.

Plenty to talk about

In August 2007, two months after they reconnected, Oscar and Jackie decided to meet in “neutral” Fort Worth.

“I was going to meet a girl I had known 30 years earlier,” says Oscar. “We went to the Forth Worth Zoo and the Kimbell Art Museum. We never ran out of things to talk about.”

A month later, Oscar left on a five-week trip to Europe.

“I wasn’t sure my cell phone would work in Europe,” he says. “The minute the plane landed in Zurich, I called Jackie. It worked, and we called and texted each other during the trip.”

When Oscar returned to Dallas, the couple was talking on the phone when Jackie heard a gasp.

“I asked Oscar what was the matter,” says Jackie. “He’d just opened his cell phone bill. Our calls across the ocean cost him $750.”

New life together

By that time, Oscar and Jackie could see a future together. Jackie gave notice at the law firm in Waco and made plans to join Oscar in Dallas.

“She told me we’d need a bigger apartment, so I traded in my one-bedroom for a two-bedroom, two-bath Kingston-style apartment,” says Oscar.

Fellow Highland Springs resident Pete Robertson married Oscar and Jackie at Custer Road United Methodist Church on August 30, 2008.

Now the couple is enjoying their later-in-life romance. They both enjoy traveling, playing bridge, and working out in Highland Springs’ on-site swimming pool. This summer, they’re taking a Rhine River cruise with other couples from Highland Springs.

“We recognize that we each have our own preferences, but we’re patient and understanding with each other,” says Jackie. “Oscar likes the symphony, and I’m an Elvis fan. Somehow we make it work. Marriage is about give and take.”