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Elderly Couple Finds Love in Painting, Each Other

Charley and Gerry Watson fell in love in their 60s. The couple married after losing their spouses later in life.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Charley Watson is a painter.

"I never took formal lessons," he said. "I just learned by doing and belonging to art clubs."

He lives at the Living Community of St. Joseph in a modest two-room apartment. He creates art in a studio, one the facility set up for him.
 
"I showed -- somewhat talent in school," he said.
 
But that was a long time ago. Watson grew up in St. Joseph where he attended Lindbergh. He fell in love, got married and had a son.

He was married to his wife for 50 years, until she died in the late 1990s. Watson never thought he'd get married again, until he reconnected with a woman from his past.

Her name is Gerry, and like Charley she was recently widowed after 52 years of marriage.

"I never thought I would remarry but he surprised me," Gerry said.

The two first met in grade school as fourth graders at Lindbergh. They grew up and went separate ways, but a mutual friend brought them back together.

"A mutual friend of ours in California (asked) Charley why didn't he call me and talk with me, so he did and we went out to eat and that started it," she said.
 
It was then that they found their mutual love of painting.

"Gerry likes to paint oil and I like pastels," Charley said.

Sitting in his bedroom, across from his bed, is a painting of Gerry. It's one of the first paintings Charley completed after they married.

Charley paints memories of his life, while Gerry focuses on landscapes. The two find a common bond in the hobby. It brings them together after the losses they've suffered.
 
"She's got a real talent," Gerry said.

In recent months, Gerry's health has declined. She had a fall, which has left her unable to paint. While she's been recovering, Charley has visited her every day.

"He's kept the path hot," she said.

They both know that whatever happens in the future, they've enjoyed their time painting and being together.
 
"We've been very happy," Gerry said. "Whenever somebody asks me how long we've been married, I say 116 years."
 
Fifty years for Charley and his first wife, 52 for Gerry and her late husband, and 14 together.

Gerry is slowly recovering from her fall and will be released from her treatment facility soon. Charley has been by her side every step of the way.


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