- The Washington Times - Monday, March 10, 2003

MAMARONECK, N.Y. For three-quarters of a century, Mildred Bobe resisted flirts, turned down proposals, always found "something wrong" with the men who were interested. Relatives called her "Spinster Millie."
But she finally made it down the aisle with the help of a walker festooned with roses and lace marrying 85-year-old Hubert Spurr, whom she met when their wheelchairs lined up together in physical therapy class at the Sarah Neuman nursing home.
They were pronounced husband and wife Feb. 13 at a nonsectarian service in the home's sunny Winter Garden, before about 100 chatty residents and one squirming baby. The audience let out a collective "Oooh" when Miss Bobe appeared in her long ivory gown and squealed at each of the couple's three kisses.
Miss Bobe, 73, accepted Mr. Spurr's proposal, and the $18 ring he bought at the nursing home gift shop, just a few weeks after meeting him. It seems he knew just the right compliment.
"He said he liked my eyes," the new Mrs. Spurr said.
At the wedding, a tenor sang "Spanish Eyes."
While it was Miss Bobe's first marriage, it was Mr. Spurr's third. He had come to the nursing home in March not because he had to he could have remained at his Port Chester home, with help but to stay with his second wife, who had Alzheimer's disease, after 20 years of marriage.
She died at the home in September, and Mr. Spurr, a World War II radioman, an air-traffic controller and a longtime teletype operator for United Press International, was heard to say he no longer wanted to live.
In October, he met Miss Bobe, a New York City native, as they sat in their wheelchairs in a hallway, awaiting their turns at physical therapy. She was 15 years younger than the average resident, but heart and kidney problems had taken a toll after forcing her to retire as head supervisor of data entry at Salomon Brothers. She had lost the life of Manhattan dating and dancing that kept her happy in her singleness.
"Millie and I were both very depressed, me because my wife had died and Millie because she was ill," Mr. Spurr said.
They talked about fishing and history. They played bingo and watched TV.
"We liked the same sort of things," he said. "She was intelligent and kind and sweet, and truly, she had beautiful eyes. … I wasn't depressed anymore."
When Miss Bobe's sister announced that her family was moving to Seattle and suggested Miss. Bobe come with them, Mr. Spurr was able to talk her out of it, with the help of that $18 ring.
"Stay here and marry me," he said.
"We both sort of knew that was the best way to stay together, although I hadn't asked and she hadn't said yes," Mr. Spurr said.
Miss Bobe did say yes, choosing Mr. Spurr and the nursing home over a life in a house with her family. Asked if the decision wasn't a bit sudden, she said, "Not at all. I liked him from the start."
And Mr. Spurr said, "This was a chance I wasn't going to get again."
Since the engagement, the cheap ring has been replaced by one with a diamond, and the staff at Sarah Neuman, part of the Jewish Home and Hospital network, has taken to calling Mr. Spurr "Loverboy."
After the ceremony, the nursing home bestowed a gift on the newlyweds: Mr. Spurr's roommate was moved out of his room, and his bride was moved in.

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