By Lavern Nissley
A precious 60 year marriage transitioned suddenly on Monday, January 7, 2019. Gary and Dottie Wade were married June 13, 1958, having met each other in junior high school. But on this fateful Monday morning Gary found the love of his life slumped over in a chair.
Sixty years is a long time to live with anyone. Thousands of memories, both good and bad. Gratitude, regrets, choices, reactions, challenges and celebrations are all woven together in a beautiful tapestry of faith and love that spans over six decades.
Their son in law, Bruce Smith, wrote: "Gary and Dottie's Godly marriage is a love story like few others and an example of how it should be done. Always mindful of the other and looking for opportunities to serve in an often times selfish world is to be cherished and replicated."
Together Gary and Dottie raised seven children, two of which preceded them in death through heart-wrenching tragedies. A family legacy of 18 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren provides a living testimony to the loving example set by Gary and Dottie. In this way their positive influence lives on.
The ache and sadness for those left behind is almost suffocating. Gary reflects: "I know where she is, but oh how I miss her. We were a team. She was my partner, she was so smart, sensitive and good. Just my opposite. I needed and loved her more than I could ever explain. There are not adequate words."
Gary and Dottie's 60 year marriage not only affected them, but hundreds of people who knew them and were inspired by their example.
There is no greater compliment or tribute to a marriage than to hear many saying, "That's the kind of marriage I want to have and be known for." The board and staff of Encompass Connection Center see such a marriage worthy of commendation, for it is precisely such a loving and lasting connection in marriages we seek to facilitate.
Well done, Gary and Dottie. Your marriage gives us hope, motivation and courage for lovingly investing in our own.
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.