Pembroke, Ont. couple, kept apart by pandemic, celebrates 70 years of marriage together

Back in 1951, the average price of a new house was $9,000 and the population of Ottawa was just under 250,000. It was also the year Neil and Delores Videto were married.

Now in 2021, both 88 years old, the couple is celebrating 70 years of marriage with a renewal of their vows.

"He was the one who said to mom many times, 'If we make it to 70 years, I'm going to marry you again'," said their daughter, Holly. "To me, it's still amazing that it's been that many years and all the obstacles in the way."

The couple renewed their vows in a ceremony at Marionhill long-term care home in Pembroke, where Delores has spent the last three years, living with dementia. The pair is proving that the test of time, illness, or even a pandemic can't stand in the way of their love.

"When I was in the church and turned around and saw her coming, it was the same feeling I got today," says Neil, recalling their wedding day in 1951.

That isn't to say the last year and a half hasn't been tough for the Videtos. When Neil wasn't allowed inside the home during the pandemic, he would make window visits to Delores every day, sometimes three times a day.

"They used to bring her right here and I'd stand out there, and sometimes it would be raining or snowing a bit," Videto tells CTV News. "But it was okay; I'd stay as long as I could."

"He basically would come no matter what," adds Holly. "If dad was sick or sore, he was here."

While Marionhill has seen many caring couples come through their doors, Wednesday's celebration was a first.

"We have never done a 70th since I've been here in 17 years," says Wendy Biernaskie, the home's manager of recreation and volunteers. "So this is a big milestone for all of us. Delores and Neil are a huge part of our lives here, so we are more than happy to be a part of that."

After 70 years, Videto says he learned long ago the key to a loving and lasting marriage.

"Patience was the other thing that I've taken from it; if you love somebody you have to be patient," says Neil. "You learn over the years, and she was a great teacher here," he says holding Delores's hand.

"She was always patient and always smiling."