Mildred McNerney, now in her 11th year with Alzheimer's disease, doesn't speak anymore. But she communicates with her husband of 63 years, Francis, through smiles and glances, the Fairmont Sentinel reported in a Valentine's Day love story.
Mildred first caught Francis' eye when he was a 21-year-old shoe salesman and she came in looking for shoes for a new job at the sweet shop and bakery in Fairmont, the newspaper reports. They were married in Wilmont, raised three boys, and now have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Francis took care of Mildred until, weakened by cancer, he no longer could. The couple now lives together at a care center.
They have had a long, rich life together that included ballroom dancing and travel, Francis said. He said the last 11 years have been a "long goodbye," the Sentinel reports.
"I'm glad we didn't wait to enjoy life until we were retired," Francis said. He rarely looks away from his wife, the Sentinel reports.
"I hold her hand, and I talk to her, and she'll kind of respond with her eyes," he said. "She doesn't say anything, but she seems to know I'm there, and that's all that matters."
KSTP spoke to other couples who had been married for decades and who shared their best love advice. Among their suggestions: Don't go to bed mad.
Patch held a contest seeking the greatest love story in Minnesota, and awarded it today to a young couple in Richfield, who are planning a June wedding.