Royce and Frankie King got married 77 years ago while Royce was a soldier fighting in World War II. The couple rushed a ceremony during a short leave so they could officially be man and wife before Royce flew overseas. Because of the timing, Frankie wasn’t able to wear a white gown that day. And though the two have celebrated their marriage for nearly eight decades, Frankie was always a little disappointed that she couldn’t have a traditional wedding.
“Mom had mentioned, ‘We got married on a two-day notice while Dad was just on a short leave … before he went overseas in World War II. And we didn’t have time to plan a big wedding. And we didn’t have a photographer,” their daughter, Sue Bilodeau, told the Des Moines Register.
So on the King’s anniversary this year, the staff at St. Croix Hospice in Iowa planned a 1940s themed vow renewal. And Frankie finally had proper wedding photos taken while she walked down the aisle in a beautiful gown.
Frankie King Celebrated 77 Years with a Wedding Reenactment
Before the ceremony, Frankie’s daughter helped her get dressed. Once she was ready for her big moment, Frankie’s music therapist played 1940s hits on his saxophone as she walked down the aisle. And Royce was waiting at the altar wearing his air force uniform and “the biggest smile in the world.”
“They escorted my dad outside, sat him down and we put a little handkerchief around his eyes,” Bilodeau remembered. “We walked Mom down the back steps and across the yard, and then she stood in front of Dad. And then I was able to take off his handkerchief. I said, ‘Are you ready to see your bride?'”
After Royce got a glimpse of his bride, he couldn’t stop smiling.
During their life together, they’ve expanded their family with two children, 4 great-grandchildren, and several great-great-grandchildren. And Royce remained in the military after the war ended. The lieutenant colonel retired from the air force in 1972. The Iowa State University alum then went on to co-own the Oelwein Implement Company until 1980 and later worked for Oelwein schools.
Frankie graduated from the University of Iowa and was a homemaker before becoming a dental assistant and florist.
As the King’s special day came to a close, a local reporter asked the couple what their favorite thing about marriage was. And their daughter told the Des Moines Register how they answered.
“Dad said, ‘Having Frankie by my side … and mom said, ‘As my dad used to say, I always think about this little saying, ‘Lord, give me patience and give it to me now,”” Bilodeau laughed.