At 99, WWII vet finds his soul mate

Alec Jacobs Contributor
Font Size:

Gilbert Herrick was just waiting for the right woman to settle down with. And, at 99, he’s finally found her.

Gilbert Herrick, a retired postal worker and World War II veteran has lived at Monroe Community Hospital for a year and a half. His new bride, 86 year-old Virginia Hartman-Herrick, moved in a year ago.

She remembers the day they met, soon after she’d become a resident. She’d put some of her work (she paints china) on display in a common room. Gilbert, an oil painter, went to check it out. The rest is history.

“There’s nobody here to talk to,” Gilbert complained to the Democrat and Chronicle. “She was the only one, and I started visiting her every day. I thought she would kick me out.”

The relationship turned into a romance, and the couple decided they wanted to move in to a room together. But the hospital’s policy states that only married couples can live together. There seemed to be only one solution.

“So she asked me [to marry her], and I said yes,” Gilbert said. The wedding, arranged by Gilbert and Virginia’s children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, went off without a hitch, despite both being confined to wheelchairs.

They may be newlyweds (they pass love notes to each other and giggle at their contents), but the banter between them sounds like it comes from pair who’s been together for a while. Gilbert has a job opening the hospital’s greenhouse door, and he gets paid $8 a month. “I know it’s not much for a married man,” he says.

“But at least it’s an income,” Virginia chimes in.

Alec Jacobs