For Lynnwood couple, 96 and 85, living alone got old

  • By Andrea Brown Herald Writer
  • Monday, April 14, 2014 5:37pm
  • LifeLynnwood

These newlyweds have a good shot at making it till death do they part.

He’s 96.

She’s 85.

June Hansen and Rolland Meyer tied the knot March 8 at Quail Park retirement community after a yearlong courtship.

“I’m not pregnant,” she swears.

“People shouldn’t live alone,” Rolland said. “We decided we would hang out together.”

June corrects him: “We’re not just ‘hanging out together,’ my dear.”

She’s a bit more no-nonsense than her devil-may-care husband.

“He flirts too,” she said. “I’m trying to train him not to do that.”

The couple started a new life together by moving to Quail Park in Lynnwood in December from another assisted living center.

They had to wait for her divorce to be final to marry. June was divorced after 64 years of marriage. And, no, Rolland wasn’t the reason they split. It’s complicated, but he’s no home wrecker.

This is his fifth marriage.

“Each one my wives died,” he said. “The first from tuberculosis in 1947. She was only 27 years old. The next one got lung cancer. She was 44. My last wife died just two years ago. After 30 years.”

It didn’t deter June from becoming the fifth Mrs. Meyer.

“I could go before him,” she said. “I have Parkinson’s and it will get worse over the years. It’s not curable.”

Rolland has had three back operations, a stent and a pacemaker. He takes a baby aspirin and a multivitamin and uses a cane.

“He leans on me. I’m his second cane,” June said. “I like to hold his hand because it is more firm. People look at us and they think we are doing it because we are so in love.”

He still drives a car like he’s 16. He got a speeding ticket not long ago.

“It cost me $134,” he said.

They go for rides every day and sometimes all day. He proposed to her one night while driving in the rain.

Rolland, an Oak Harbor native, was a truck driver after serving with the 1st Cavalry Division in World War II. June was active in her church and worked in a print shop.

Together, they have seven children, ages 54 to 71. They each have a daughter named Carol.

“My daughters said I was too old to marry again,” Rolland said, “but they came around.”

Not too many folks get hitched at their age. According to Washington state Department of Health license records, in 2012, the latest figures available, out of a total of 43,238 marriages statewide, there were 17 brides who were 85 years or older and four grooms 95 or older.

There were only nine marriages statewide where both the bride and groom were 85 or older.

It was a first for Katie Matthews, activity director at Quail Park, where residents attended the reception after a private ceremony. “I’d never planned a wedding,” she said. “It was the most amazing experience. The photographer was so excited he did it all for free, and the lady who made the cake gave them a smokin’ deal.”

June’s son gave her away. Rolland’s daughter stood up with him.

“You should have seen me,” June said. “I had my makeup done.”

“She looked beautiful,” Rolland said.

“He says that to all the women,” she said.

“It makes them feel better,” he said.

Like all married couples, they have their spats.

“We’ve only had four arguments,” he said.

“We kiss and make up. Right away,” she said.

One squabble, if you could call it that, was when he left wet towels on the floor after soaking his sore foot in Lysol, a remedy she had her doubts about.

“How could he make such a mess in five minutes?” she said.

“I’ve been doing it for 96 years,” he said.

She hasn’t been able to change the casual way Rolland does his finances.

“I go to the bank every once in a while and say, ‘How much money do I got in there?’” he said.

She writes checks and keeps strict records.

They signed a prenuptial agreement and took stock of their belongings.

He had the bigger new bed. She had the better chairs.

Framed artworks made by one of his former wives hang over their bed.

“They’re pretty,” June said. “I have no problem with that.”

“It’s nice to a have a body there to sleep with,” Rolland said. “Living alone … it isn’t meant to be.”

Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com

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