Margaret, 92, and Dick, 93, met in 1949 and were married on Sept. 1, 1951. Margaret was the nurse assigned to care for Dick’s good friend, who was a patient at Mercy Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. The couple fondly recalls their first few dates, which took place in a diner over Greek hot dogs, a food they still love today.
“My parents’ marriage has always been rooted in devotion, support and love,” said daughter Melanie Thomas of Batavia. “Today, they are often seen hand-in-hand. We find their lasting connection to be inspiring and we try to model our own relationships after theirs.”
Both Margaret and Dick are living with dementia. The disease can change many aspects of a relationship, but not the need for love and affection. The Shimman’s enjoy simply sitting together, reminiscing, looking at old photos and participating in community activities, such as baking and games.
As a nod to the 70th anniversary gift being platinum, Lakeview team members displayed white and platinum wedding decorations throughout the dining room and guests dined on cake, ice cream and sparkling grape juice. They also played a slide show commemorating the experiences and memories of their 70+ years together.
“Not many couples are fortunate to be together for 70 years, so we made the party extra special,” said Denise Holt, director of community relations at Lakeview. “It’s nice to bring people together to celebrate such a happy occasion.”
Recognizing the significance of the 70th anniversary, anchors and friends at Chicago’s ABC 7 and NBC 5 honored the Shimman’s on their Sept. 9 and 10 broadcasts by sharing photos of the couple throughout the years and Margaret and Dick’s best marriage advice – kisses every day, hold hands and never go to bed angry.
Meanwhile, the Shimman’s daughter, Melanie Thomas, told the Kane County Chronicle about the care her parents receive at Lakeview as they battle dementia. “My sister and I are at peace with the fact that we were able to find a really lovely place for them to be and keep them in the same room,” she said.
“That was extremely important to my dad, that they are able to be together.”Melanie Thomas – The Shimman’s Daughter