Wedding Bells Ring
Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Chuck and Betty

Couple finds forever love in retirement community.

For the first three years that he lived there, Hawthorne Village of Brandon resident Chuck Ruby sat with friends in the back of the dining room at meal time and watched impassively as the rest of the residents came and went.

Then, in May 2018, Betty Sims walked in and turned his world around.

“I thought I recognized her,” Chuck remembers. “I thought she was someone I’d known before or was acquainted with. Then, later that day, a friend of hers introduced me to her. It turns out, we had no prior connection. But there was a connection.”

Oh, was there ever. Like a schoolboy, 93-year-old Chuck was smitten. So much so that a couple days after first meeting her, he asked Betty, 87, for a date. She accepted and while the two dined together at a nearby restaurant, Betty developed an affection for Chuck.

“I liked his demeanor, the way he acted,” says Betty, a widow of ten years who soon learned that Chuck had been a widower for eight years, that they were both Christians and that Hawthorne Village was their first experience living in a retirement community.

With all that in common, Chuck and Betty’s first date soon led to a second, then a third and a fourth. Before long, they were spending long parts of the day with one another, including taking daily strolls through the Hawthorne Village community.

When they started visiting respective family members together, it was obvious a special bond was growing between them. Chuck and Betty sanctified that bond and were married in front of an entire congregation at a church in Brandon last January.

Later that same day, their wedding reception was held at Hawthorne Village of Brandon, a not-for-profit, full-service retirement community composed of three separate facilities, each of which specializes in its own aspect of carefree retirement living and wellness.

More Than Meets the Eye

For seniors such as Chuck and Betty who are looking for maximum independence and privacy, The Estates offers the opportunity to live an active and independent lifestyle in an exquisite apartment home nestled inside a carefree, amenity-filled setting.

For seniors who want to live independently but need assistance during the day or night, Hawthorne Inn provides highly trained professionals who can offer medication assistance as well as aid with basic daily activities such as bathing, dressing and grooming.

And for seniors who require specialized memory care, Hawthorne Village offers Garden Court, where staff members are trained in activity-based programs designed to minimize the negative effects of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Hawthorne Village of Brandon also offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation therapies on an inpatient and outpatient basis through its Bounce Back® Rehabilitation Program, which is designed to help seniors recovering from major illness or trauma regain function and mobility.

Chuck, who had previously been living alone in Palm Bay, came to Hawthorne Village in 2015, largely to be closer to his daughter, who lives in the area. Betty arrived three years later, fulfilling a promise she had made to herself several years earlier.

“I had a friend who lived here, and another friend and I came to see her one day,” Betty explains. “We both fell in love with the place and decided that if the time came when we couldn’t live by ourselves any more, we’d come here.”

Happy Together

Photo courtesy of Hawthorne Village of Brandon.

Chuck and Betty said “I do” last January.

Like Chuck, Betty came to Hawthorne Village simply hoping to make a few friends. Finding a husband was the last thing on her mind as she began to settle in, but she learned quickly that fate can play tricks on you sometimes.

“It took me two years to fall in love with my first husband, but it only took me two months to fall in love with Chuck,” she says. “Now Chuck, on the other hand, he moved a lot slower than me, so for a while, I wasn’t sure how he really felt.

“So one night, I said a prayer and said, Lord, I love Chuck, but he’s not saying much. If we’re supposed to be together, when he comes to see me tonight or tomorrow, let me know that he really is interested. And then that night, he told me he loved me.

“Now, we’re together and we’re very happy. We’re also very fortunate because we don’t have to do any cooking or laundry. There’s no yard or house to take care of. It’s a very relaxing environment here, and it’s even better when you share it with someone you love.”

Chuck, who planned the reception with some help from his daughter, says he was very happy living the life of a bachelor and that, like Betty, he had no intentions of ever getting married again when he first arrived at Hawthorne Village.

“But that all changed when I saw Betty and got to know her,” he says. “After that, the attraction to her was too great. It was so significant that I knew we had to be together, and we agreed that the only way to do that the right way was to be married.

“Before that, I was living a good life as a bachelor. But now I’m living a fabulous life. My friends always ask me how I’m feeling, and I used to tell them, Oh, about seventy-five percent. Now, when they ask me how I feel, I tell them I feel one hundred eighty percent.”

Betty feels just as good.

“Life is super, and it just gets better every day,” she exudes. “And one of the best parts about it is, Chuck and I don’t just love each other, we really like each other. That’s important, and that’s why I feel so blessed to be with him.”


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