How We Met: Margie and Ward

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MACKENZIE REISS | Bigfork Eagle Ward DeWitt and Margie McDonald are pictured at the apartment complex where they met and fell in love after their respective spouses passed away.

After Ward DeWitt’s wife of 55 years died in the fall of 2018, he didn’t think he’d ever find love again.

Certainly not right next door.

And most definitely not in the very same building.

But as fate would have it, DeWitt’s neighbor Margie McDonald lost her spouse within six weeks of his wife’s passing, and even more surprisingly — to the same condition.

“Lightning strikes, not just within six weeks, but on the same floor of the same building,” DeWitt said.

The retired physician and former teacher found themselves unexpectedly alone during the holiday season and decided to share in each other’s company instead of passing the time alone.

DeWitt made the first move and invited McDonald to dinner at When in Rome. Soon what was once a casual acquaintance, morphed into a close friendship and eventually, into something much more.

“It just happened real gradually — I don’t think we even saw it sneak up on us,” McDonald said, with a laugh.

“We both seemed to like the same sort of things and we started doing more and more as the months went by,” DeWitt said.

They discovered many shared interests between themselves, like watching movies, traveling and attending church. McDonald loved that DeWitt enjoyed getting out of the house and doing things together, especially since her late husband’s hearing difficulties often made socializing difficult. In turn, DeWitt’s late wife had a hard time getting around due to her medical ailments, while McDonald led an active life.

While both looked back on their previous marriages with fondness, they were delighted to find partners who were able and interested in living life to the fullest.

“She’s just fun to be around,” DeWitt noted, “and we enjoy chatting with each other.”

“Sometimes debating,” McDonald added with a grin.

The pair has also developed their own routine, of sorts.

They usually keep to themselves in the afternoons, but in the mornings, DeWitt chefs up breakfast, while McDonald takes care of dinner.

“We were becoming an obvious couple,” DeWitt explained. “You wouldn’t see her without me and vice versa.”

One morning while they were dining together, DeWitt posed a particular question.

“What would you think about changing your last name again?” he said.

“Is that a proposal?” she asked.

“I wanted to make sure,” McDonald explained later, “They usually get down on on knee.”

“There are some concessions you make to being 78,” DeWitt noted, smiling.

No age, it seems, is too late for love.

The happy couple is set to marry July 18 and will spend their honeymoon in Russia — a place they’ve both longed to explore — journeying from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

“People laugh — you’re getting married and you’re 78? Well, yeah,” McDonald said. “I told him he was the biggest surprise of all.” »

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