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Morning Sun
  • Patrick's People - Timeless Love

  • Love has nothing to do with how many candles you have on your birthday cake.

    Bob Maxwell, 77, and Helen Zimmerman, a young lady of  72, are getting married Saturday at Our Lady of Lourdes  Catholic Church.

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  • Love has nothing to do with how many candles you have on your birthday cake.
    Bob Maxwell, 77, and Helen Zimmerman, a young lady of  72, are getting married Saturday at Our Lady of Lourdes  Catholic Church. The wedding  follows a whirlwind courtship of around four months.
    “When you’re 77 you can’t waste too much time,” Maxwell said.
    It’s the second marriage for both of them, and both lost their previous spouses to death.
    Maxwell’s first wife, Reida, died in August of 2011. Zimmerman has been alone since her first husband, David Zimmerman, died in 1986, leaving her a young widow with five children.
    The two met at Harry’s Cafe.
    “My cousin Betty owns Harry’s and every once in a while she’ll ask me to  help on weekends as a cashier,” Zimmerman said. “I’d take Bob’s money and say ‘Thank you, sir’. Then one day he asked me to sit down at his table and he asked me if I’d have dinner with him.”
    Zimmerman, who had been married for 17 years and alone for 26 years, hadn’t expected that she’d ever marry again.
    “I had opportunities, but I wasn’t interested in any of  them until  Bob,” Zimmerman said.
    Maxwell was married 58 years and liked it.
    “I didn’t think I was set to be a single man the rest of my life,” he said. “  I found this beautiful woman and we get along together very well.”
    They said that their families are happy for them. Maxwell has three children, two in Oregon and one, daughter Kim Johnson, who lives in Pittsburg.
    “I also have six grandchildren and eight great-grandsons,” he said. “I have no great-granddaughters.”
    “Now you do,” Zimmerman said.
    She has 17 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, who are looking forward to the wedding. In fact, one of her daughters recently gave her a bachelorette party at Buffalo Run Casino.
    There did have to be some adjustments. Zimmerman is Catholic, and proud that all five of her children graduated from St. Mary’s Colgan High School. Maxwell is not Catholic, though he is extremely impressed by the courteous behavior of  SMC students and once wrote a letter to the editor about them after students got up and offered their seats to Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell in a local restaurant.
    “Since we will be married at the  Catholic Church, I  have agreed to the stipulation that all my future children will be raised in the Catholic faith,” he said. “My 58-year-old daughter in Oregon said she wasn’t going to become Catholic for this, but I told her it only applied to future children.”
    He was born in Mulberry and is a 1951 Mulberry High School graduate. His late wife, the former Reida Pryor, grew up in Pittsburg.“Her father, Johnny Pryor, was a longtime Pittsburg policeman and pretty well liked in town,” Maxwell said.
    Page 2 of 2 - He left Pittsburg in 1956, and he and his wife lived in Shawnee Mission and in Bend, Ore., before returning to Pittsburg in 2006.
    “Her health was failing and she wanted to come back home, so I brought her home,” Maxwell said.
    Zimmerman was born in Kansas City, Mo., but came back to the Pittsburg area after her husband died.
    “My parents, Bill and Pauline Tierney, helped me,” she said.
    The couple has been receiving numerous cards of congratulations on their upcoming marriage, and he especially cherishes one from Lavon Lynch, Wichita, his first grade teacher in Mulberry, whom he calls every month or so.
    “She’s a 1934 Mulberry graduate and will be 96 on Jan. 15,” Maxwell said. “I remember her coming to school one day crying because her husband, Lester, had been drafted to go to World War II. I thought, she doesn’t need to cry because I can take care of her.”
    There’s just one possible downside to their marriage.
    “It does spoil my retirement plan, which was to be shot by a jealous husband when I’m 90,” Maxwell said.
    He and his bride share a keen sense of humor.
    “We spend a lot of time laughing,” Zimmerman said.
    They don’t plan a honeymoon right away, but hope to do some traveling in the spring, including a trip to Oregon so she can meet the rest of his family.
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