Photographs and Newspaper Clippings...Anniversaries and Weddings...Old and New...
Left to Right
Pat Reilly LaFountain (1952) Annamae Reilly Illig (1949) Thelma Whitchurch
Tuck (1948) Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck (1953)
Front Bonnie Reilly Wiltse (1956)
|Bob Davis, Class of 1944, and Grandsons
Bob Davis, class of 1944, and grandsons.
* * * * * *
|Mr. & Mrs. Barry Wilkinson
|Janet Zettel Tobin (Class 56)Barry Wilkinson(Class 53)
GAYLORD — After 53 years apart, former high school sweethearts Jan Tobin of Gaylord and Barry Wilkinson of Boston
were reunited when their paths fortuitously crossed again last year. Once the sparks of love were rekindled, and following
a brief courtship, the couple were united in marriage last month at St. Mary Cathedral during an intimate wedding ceremony
— proving love, sometimes, conquers all.
The two dated for about a year when Tobin — then Jan Zettel —
was a high school sophomore in West Branch and Wilkinson was just out of high school. The couple drifted apart, like young
love sometimes is wont to do — following Wilkinson’s enlistment into the Navy.
Tobin, now 70, married John
Tobin in 1959, raised five children and in 2000 retired from the Mitten Bay Girl Scouts after 22 years as a membership specialist.
Wilkinson, 72, married in 1957 and raised two children in the Boston area, where he worked as a research scientist until retiring
Tobin’s husband died three and a half years ago. Wilkinson’s wife died almost a year and a half ago.
never thought I would remarry,” Tobin said, a sentiment Wilkinson shared after the loss of his wife.
said they had thought about each other now and then over the years but their paths never crossed even though each had family
who continued to live in the West Branch area.
“We almost saw each other once,” Wilkinson recalled from
Tobin’s home in Gaylord where he was snuggled in on the couch holding hands with his new bride, a big smile on his face
as he told his story. “I came to Detroit back in 1988 for my job and drove up to West Branch to see my mom and found
out later that Jan had happened to be in town and we missed seeing each other by about 15 minutes. We were just never in the
same place at the same time.” “I never would have thought it would get revived again,” Tobin said of the
chain of events which set the stage for a reunion more than 50 years later.
The couple had no idea what the other’s
life had been like through all those years. Tobin was unaware Wilkinson had settled in Boston after leaving the Navy. Wilkinson
was in the dark to the fact Tobin was in Gaylord, a grandmother to 10 and great-grandmother to two.
According to Wilkinson,
he had heard from his mother about year ago that Tobin’s brother, with whom he had been friends during high school,
was seriously ill. Wilkinson was trying to find an address to send him a card. He didn’t find the address but found
something which turned out to be even better — Tobin’s e-mail address through his high school reunion committee.
two started e-mailing back and forth and began making lengthy long distance phone calls to each other before meeting face
to face last May when Wilkinson returned to West Branch for a high school reunion.
“We knew we were meant for
each other right away,” Tobin said of the sparks which flew after they met in West Branch.
“It was like
I never went away,” Wilkinson said of the 10 days the couple spent catching up on each other’s lives. “There
was no question about recognizing each other.”
One thing Wilkinson wasn’t aware of until later was that
Tobin had read a couple of years earlier an online biography entry about Wilkinson at his class reunion Web site. Jerry David,
a former athletic director at St. Mary Cathedral School and a classmate of Wilkinson’s and friend of Tobin’s,
alerted her to the bio information. “I was quite impressed,” Tobin said of her new husband’s distinguished
career as a scientist.
The two also were impressed with the number of things they had in common. “We liked the
same kinds of music, concerts, travel, and we were both active volunteers,” Tobin said. “We’re open to travel
but we have a house to sell first.”
The couple will spend the next month working on Wilkinson’s colonial
home prior to selling and plan on eventually moving to West Branch so Wilkinson can help care for his 93-year-old mother.
reflected on the loss of her spouse several years ago. “It’s very difficult to be alone. Life is made up of couples.
I’ve kept busy by being involved with the St. Mary’s drama group. I think you have to be deliberate when you’re
older about staying active. We really don’t think of ourselves as old people yet.”
“After my wife
died I expected to sit and watch the grass grow, but then I kept up with my volunteering to put a Navy destroyer back together,
something I’ve done for the past 22 years,” said Wilkinson who also began volunteering with a nature conservancy
“We’re fortunate we both seem to be really healthy,” Wilkinson said, prompting Tobin to add
mirthfully — “although, his blood pressure went up a little after we met and mine went down.”
still think of this as a fairy tale. We’ve been very lucky,” Wilkinson added.
The couple have set aside
April 12 for family and friends to celebrate their marriage and the chapter of their new life together.
|Ron (1961)& Jeanie Robinson (1966) Keith
|Celebrate 40th Anniversary April 20, 2008