How 2 Seniors Found Love In The Lunch Line

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JUDGE PAMELA DEMBE instructs groom James Passarelli to place wedding ring on finger of his bride Patricia Kuch.

They met in an unusual place: the 50-cent luncheon line set up for the over 1,000 members of the South Philadelphia Older Adult Center at Passyunk and Dickinson in South Philadelphia.
She was  66, a widow of three years and he was 70, a widower of 18 years.
Last Thursday, Common Pleas Judge Pam Dembe performed the wedding ceremony that bound  Patricia Kuch to James Passarelli.
Credited with pushing this couple into marriage is the Center’s dietician Eileen Ashton, whom everyone at the center calls “Cupid”. She has always made it a point to know the needs of her lunch customers.
She  lives near Passarelli, who has a home at 4th & Wolf, on  Fitzgerald Street. Ashton watched through the years as Jim lost his wife through a massive heart attack and, later, two children  who died early. She said he was “absolutely lonely,” even though a remaining son  is still alive and makes his home in New Jersey.
She talked him into coming to the center to get at least “one nutritious meal,” worried that he was “beginning to look rundown. Not taking care of himself.”
At the same time, she reports, “Patricia Kuch was joining up. They met in the main hall where they sat waiting for the cafeteria to open. It was something to see. By the time they reached the end of the line and went to the same table, you knew they were a match.”
Jim was shy, Eileen noted.  “He asked me what I told about her and I said to him, ‘Take her out.’” He took her out on a date — to where else but the center.
Little did Patricia have any idea she was the marrying kind when she moved to South Philadelphia from New Jersey after her husband died. But Jim was hearing Frank Sinatra’s song “Love Is Better the Second Time Around”  moments after he first engaged Patricia in conversation. Still, it took a while for the memory of the words to sink in.
But Eileen noted, “it was something to see as their relationship blossomed. We all knew it would be just a matter of time.”
Both said, “It was fitting to hold our wedding here at the center.”
On their special day, they were surrounded by over 100 of the senior members of the Adult Center. When Jim answered Judge Dembe’s question, “Will you take her as your beloved wife?,” he answered with a loud “You betcha!” to roaring applause.
Judge Dembe kept the senior audience laughing when she said, “We all know marriage is a give-and-take proposition. I can see it on most of your faces.”
Patricia is moving in with him, happily giving up her apartment. Both have honeymoon plans to watch the whales up in Cape Cod this September.

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