Elderly newlyweds find love during COVID-19 pandemic

Elderly newlyweds find love during COVID-19 pandemic
Newlyweds Jane and Richard Neal are honeymooning at Pisgah Inn. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Newlyweds remind us that there's always time for love -- even during a pandemic. In March, just as COVID-19 shut everything down, the lovebirds opened their hearts.

Along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Jane and Richard Neal have captured lightning in a bottle.

"Really gorgeous," Jane said, taking in the view on their honeymoon at Pisgah Inn.

"And not a house in sight!" Richard marveled.

You might assume their journey is an old-fashioned love story, as they hold hands and talk about grandchildren.

"Thirteen grands and 11 great-grands ... that's the final answer!" Jane said, tallying up her half of the total.

Jane's 82, Richard is 92.

They have a combined eight children, 18 grandkids, and 22 great-grandchildren.

The Neals are like a couple of crazy kids in a whirlwind modern romance.

"At our age, if you're certain you're doing the right thing, you don't want to waste a lot of time," Richard said.

Last week, they tied the knot in Hendersonville.

Their worlds collided after both lost the loves of their lives.

"Don't allow loneliness to take over, because it will ruin your lives," Jane stressed. "Get out and meet people."

They found each other through the online dating site Silver Singles.

"My son is a deputy sheriff, and he was scared to death I had found a shyster!" Jane said.

At first, their heartbreaking history gave them something to talk about.

"Yes, we both shared the loss of a spouse," Richard said.

"A lot of maturity," he explained. "We've been through 130 years of marriage."

"It was natural in loneliness to turn to somebody who knew what we'd been through," Jane said, describing their unbreakable bond. "And then we met. We were already in love with each other. We already knew each other."

Less than five months after meeting with a mouse click, they exchanged vows.

"I said, 'I will not try to change you, I want you the way you are right now,'" Richard said. "No judgments."

"I promised to love him with a selfless love that seeks to give and not receive," Jane said.

Their late spouses will always have a special place in their hearts.

Richard's late wife Frankie died a few years ago after 66 years of marriage. Jane and her husband Larry were married 61 years until he died in August.

Finding love again is part of their healing process.

"You're not giving up your previous spouse by remarrying," Richard said. "I think a lot of people give up, and they shouldn't, especially as you get older."

Together, they cling to the past and live in the present, with wisdom that comes with life experience.


Show us something good! It's stressful out there right now. Show us something that makes you happy. Your kids, your pets, your best friend. Whatever puts a smile on your face.