Holdout Ends: 99-Year-Old Man Marries for First Time

Shot by Cupid just shy of century mark

By Greg Wilson
|  Friday, Jun 24, 2011  |  Updated 5:51 AM CDT
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Gilbert Herrick was a bachelor for 99 percent of a century, but the World War II veteran got hitched when he found his soulmate.

Herrick met 86-year-old Virginia Hartman, a widow who raised five children, while living at Monroe Community Hospital near Rochester, New York. Something that hadn't clicked for 98 years finally did. She was new to the facility, and Herrick complimented an exhibit of her artwork.

"There's nobody here to talk to," Gilbert told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. "She was the only one, and I started visiting her every day. I thought she would kick me out." She didn't."

Herrick says he never got married because he never met the right woman. But the retired postal worker said he fell hard for Hartman. Rules at the home dictate that they couldn't share a room until he made an honest woman of her.

"We wanted to share a room," Gilbert said. "But you can't do that here unless you are married. So she asked me, and I said yes."

They tied the knot June 6 in a ceremony her five children, grandchildren and great grandchildren helped plan. Both are confined to wheelchairs, making their first dance as a couple tricky. They waited for the floor to clear, said Herrick.

"We didn't want to knock anyone over," he told the paper.

Hartman's love of painting has convinced Herrick, who once dabbled himself, to pick up the brushes again. They figure it's a great hobby to share.

"It's great for old people," Virginia told the paper. "You don't have to worry about time. If you enjoy it, do it."

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