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After 75 Years, First Love Leads To Marriage

June 24, 1995

MONROE, La. (AP) _ Three-quarters of a century after they fell in love, Marzell Stennett found Verda Jones Tillman living down the hall from him in a nursing home.

Now they’re newlyweds; he’s 93, and she’s 92. They say they are as much in love as they were when they were teen-agers in Ouachita Parish.

The two met in the fall of 1919 and dated for several months, but then lost track of each other.

``We never broke up. Our families just moved to different places,″ Mrs. Stennett said shortly after getting married in her wheelchair Friday at St. Joseph’s Home in this northwestern Louisiana city.

They saw each other briefly in 1923 in a chance encounter at a bus station cafe but went their separate ways.

A couple of months ago at the nursing home, Stennett learned that he lived on the same floor as the woman he loved. He wasted no time paying her a visit.

``I never knew what had become of him until that day that he came to my door,″ Mrs. Stennett said. ``I knew him right away and called his name even though I hadn’t seen him in over 70 years.″

``The first day, after I went into the room, she told me that she had never stopped loving me,″ Stennett said.

Both had been widowed after long marriages _ 54 years for him, 58 for her.

``It will be wonderful to have someone to spend my last years with,″ Mrs. Stennett said.

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