Couple marries at Council on Aging after surprise proposal

Couple marries at Council on Aging after surprise proposal

Bill Smith got down on one knee to ask Janice to be his life partner. Channel 3 News was there and captured the moment. Many people saw our story and were so touched they reached out to help make their January 2nd wedding day possible.

The Smiths met at one of the dining halls provided by the Council On Aging, a nonprofit organization that serves senior citizens across Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

"I was married for 57 years," said Bill Smith.

Bill's wife died October of 2016. He told Channel 3's Lauren Wolfe that he didn't think that he would find love again until he met Janice at lunch. They've been meeting for their afternoon meal every day since.

"I saw it on WEAR. I saw it on the news and I said I'm gonna call and volunteer to see if they need someone to perform this ceremony," said wedding officiant Pam Rodgerson.

Rodgerson has worked as a wedding officiant for many years, but she hasn't married a couple quite as fast.

"Bill called a couple of days later and he said 'we're ready' and I said 'you do know you have to get a license.' He said 'got that two days ago,'" recalled Rodgerson.

The word spread just as quickly and many donations came pouring in to give this couple a day to remember. For Bill's son, this was a day he will never forget.

"Yeah that was pretty neat to walk your dad down the aisle when you think that they only walk you down the aisle," said Lee Smith.

Bill's daughter said she wouldn't have missed this wedding for the world.

"I'm just glad that he found someone that he can go through his life with. He's my heart, he's my dad. He's one of my favorite people on the planet," said Julie Leten.

How did this couple come across love? What is their secret?

"Don't look for it, it will find you. I wasn't looking for anybody. I was just coming here to be with people. When you're least expecting it. It will happen," said Janice.

A true testament that love knows no age and happiness can happen at any time of your life.

"We're happy. We're very happy," said Janice.

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