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Groom: 'She won me in a bingo game'

Two bingo regulars seal the match where they met: East Citrus Community Center.

By JORGE SANCHEZ, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 17, 2002

INVERNESS -- They met at bingo. It was love at first sight.

"He asked to sit across from me," she said.

"I liked her sense of humor," he said.

Last week, Agnes Sharon, 91, married James Dolan, 88, at the place where they first met in February 2001: the East Citrus Community Center.

The ceremony was announced as "The Wedding of Two Lovely People" on the center's daily activities list.

The couple, bingo regulars at the center, had planned a simple courthouse ceremony. But once center director Mary Bridwell heard about that, she sprang into action. On about a day's notice, she organized the wedding.

"I told them they weren't going to be married in the courthouse," Bridwell said. "They were going to be married right here."

After a round of calls to get permission from the county, finding someone to perform the wedding and getting two cakes baked, the scene was set.

At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sharon, wearing a dark blue floral skirt and a lace camisole blouse, proudly walked down the aisle to meet her groom. The processional music was Somewhere Out There by Linda Ronstadt.

Longtime friend Leonard Brandell gave the bride away.

"I've known her for 28 years. She's about the sweetest woman I've ever met," he said. "I call her mom."

Even in Citrus County, with its large population of senior citizens, a wedding between a 88-year-old groom and an 91-year-old bride was a bit unusual.

"I'm a Mormon, and we don't believe in life and marriage ending when this life ends," James Dolan said. "Soon, we'll be married again in the Mormon Temple and that's eternal. This is not a short marriage."

His bride also looked to the future:

"My outlook is that I'll have someone to love and someone to live with the rest of my years, however many that may be. I won't be lonely," she said.

The couple met at a bingo game, when Dolan asked to sit across the table from the woman who now is his wife.

"I joke that she won me in a bingo game," he said.

The attraction grew quickly. He was widowed; his third wife had died a year earlier. Agnes had lost her husband 10 years ago. Her marriage to Dolan was her fifth.

He soon asked her out on a lunch date. They went to Outback, she said, where they shared a bloomin' onion. The discovered that they liked each other -- a lot.

"We both have the same sense of humor, and that's important," she said.

A proposal soon followed, and then the wedding. After notary public Blanche Mogus pronounced them husband and wife, the couple kissed.

Agnes let go of her cane, wrapped her arms around James and planted a passionate smooch on his lips. It was a long, smoldering kiss.

Love at any age? You better believe it.

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