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She’s 76, he’s 103, and now their relationship is ‘legal’

Gig Harbor seniors marry after unexpected romance blooms

Gig Harbor residents Sandy Rose, 76, and George Eckhoff, 103, never expected to get married a second time. But then fate intervened and they just couldn’t say no.
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Gig Harbor residents Sandy Rose, 76, and George Eckhoff, 103, never expected to get married a second time. But then fate intervened and they just couldn’t say no.

One of the jobs Sandy Rose took on while living at Providence Mount St. Vincent, a senior care living community in Seattle, was to make sure everyone received a nice card on their birthday.

She made a special one for fellow resident George Eckhoff on his special day.

The 103-year-old Eckhoff appreciated the gesture, and decided to thank Rose in person for her effort.

“We talked for a long time and he said, ‘I know it is only next door, but can I take you to dinner?’ ” Rose, 76, said.

After the relationship started to blossom, the couple decided to move to the Peninsula Retirement community in Gig Harbor.

When they decided to move in together, they also decided it was time to make their relationship legal, Rose said.

“We felt if we were going to live together, we would get married,” she said. “We are both Christians and that is our value system.”

Rose and Eckhoff were married in a ceremony Saturday at the Chapel on Echo Bay on Fox Island, a century-old chapel with views of the Olympic Mountains and Echo Bay in Puget Sound. The Peninsula Singers from the retirement community provided music for the ceremony.

“We picked the songs that they already knew and they have had a couple of rehearsals and they sang three songs,” Rose said.

It’s the second marriage for both her and Eckhoff, who was previously married for two months short of 76 years.

It was so unexpected for both of us. We never had a thought in our minds and no intention of every getting remarried. Now it is so wonderful to have a companion — someone I can talk to anytime of day or night.

Sandy Rose, 76-year-old bride

Rose’s son, Ron, walked her down the aisle and her daughter, Cindy Klapperich, was her matron of honor. Eckhoff’s friend, Mark Larussa, stepped in as his best man.

After living alone for many years, Rose said she and her groom look forward to a life together.

“We will continue to live at Peninsula Retirement. We love it here for two reasons: Number one is we like the people here and number two is we have a nice and comfortable apartment,” Rose said.

Despite being in a wheelchair and Eckhoff using a scooter, the couple like to shop when the weather is nice, or go to lunch or dinner.

“We have a lot of freedom to do whatever we want to do,” she said.

Grandson Rob Rose took photos of Saturday’s ceremony, and it went off without a hitch.

“It was a heartwarming day,” Rob said. “Even the weather cooperated.”

It was a real treat to see the couple so happy together, Ron said, and he was honored to walk his mother down the aisle.

The day Rose met Eckhoff was a lucky day for both of them, the blushing bride said.

“It was so unexpected for both of us,” Rose said. “We never had a thought in our minds and no intention of every getting remarried. Now it is so wonderful to have a companion — someone I can talk to anytime of day or night.

“Now we are legal. George made an honest woman out of me.”

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