July 7, 2018

Frank and Helen Beauregard, of Westford, renew their vows at the All Care Adult Day Health Center in Chelmsford on Wednesday, 68 years after their marriage at St. Peter's Church in Lowell. "We just fell, and that's the way it was," Frank, 89, recalled. SUN / Julia Malakie Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

CHELMSFORD -- Frank Beauregard took his wife’s hand and barely let it go throughout the whole ceremony Wednesday.

He and Helen Beauregard, 87, looked into each other’s eyes and once again said, “I do,” as they had done 68 years earlier.

“We just fell, and that’s the way it was,” Frank, 89, recalled.

They were young sweethearts in Lowell, a fun-loving couple who enjoyed dancing at places like the Commodore Ballroom.

They married July 2, 1950 at St. Peter’s Church in Lowell.

“Her gown of lace was fashioned with sweetheart yoke, fitted bodice and rippling skirt with tunic overskirt, ending in a full train,” the couple’s wedding announcement in The Sun described Helen’s wedding dress. “She wore a Juliet cap of lace and carried a bridal bouquet of white roses.”

They honeymooned at Maine’s Old Orchard Beach and Niagara Falls, on the New York side.

They built their home in Westford and raised five children: Frank, Wayne, Lorene, Lisa and Lynn. They worked hard to support their family, which has grown to include 12 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Both held a number of different jobs over the years, often working opposite shifts.

He worked at Fletcher’s Quarry running a wire saw, served as a police dispatcher and a mailman. She was a bookkeeper, worked nights at the American Can Company in Maynard and was a service coordinator for Merrimack Valley MRI. At one point, they were both mail carriers and shared a delivery route in their Nabnasset neighborhood.

They lived in Dracut for a while before they retired and moved to Stark, N.H. for 22 years. There, they volunteered at Stark Village School, she as a kitchen worker and he a custodian. When it snowed, Frank would get there early to make sure all of the walkways were cleared, daughter Lorene McAllister said.

As they got older, both began to show signs of dementia: Helen first, and then Frank.

About two years ago, they returned to Westford to live with McAllister.

Beacon Hospice sends a nurse, home aide, social worker and others to assist with their health and personal care needs. Three days a week, the Beauregards go to All Care Adult Day Health Center in Chelmsford, which offers recreation, therapy, social and other services.

Marcey Phillips, registered nurse case manager for the Beauregards for a little over a year, was the one who came up with the idea for the vow renewal when she learned the couple was coming upon their 68th anniversary.

She said something like that should be celebrated in a time when so many things are viewed as disposable.

“I just think a marriage of 68 years is an example of something you don’t throw away when things get tough or something’s not necessarily quite as shiny and new as it was in the beginning, but you stick with it and you have somebody to grow old with in these years,” Phillips said.

Her colleagues at Beacon Hospice immediately liked the idea. Business Office Specialist Christine Marte made a special white blanket for Helen that gave the appearance of a wedding gown, Marte’s sister made a veil and home aide Raquel Breton did Helen’s hair.

All Care Adult Day Health Center jumped on board, brought in a wedding singer and invited all of their program clients to attend.

Program Director Denise O’Reilly Hurley said it was the first time anyone had renewed their vows at the center.

“I think we’re going to have to add that to the activities that we serve,” she said. “I love it.”

McAllister and brother Wayne Beauregard, of Westford, were pleased with the event and how their parents responded.

“They can’t ask for a better group of people they’re with,” McAllister said.

Phillips was happy with how alert and responsive the Beauregards were, and the couple were quite happy themselves.

“I thought it was quite a thing,” Helen said.

Every night, the Beauregards go to bed with the same ritual.

“Goodnight sweetheart,” Frank will say.

“Goodnight dear,” Helen replies. “Don’t let the bedbugs bite.”

“See you in the morning,” Frank says.

Follow Alana Melanson at facebook.com/alana.lowellsun or on Twitter @alanamelanson.

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