Love Triumphs Over Coronavirus For CT Couple's 67th Anniversary

VERNON/STAFFORD, CT — Bob Shellard wasn’t going to let something like a nursing home coronavirus quarantine get between himself and his beloved wife, Nancy, on their 67th wedding anniversary. OK, a few yards of grass and some concrete separated them, perhaps. But, after all, it took a shipwreck and a trip across the sea and back to meet her, so why let concerns about the new coronavirus get in the way?

So there was Shellard on Saturday — at age 90 — staging a reception with a phone and a poster-size homemade card at Evergreen Health Care Center in Stafford. His message said, “I’ve loved you 67 years and still do …”

“I had to do something, and it just came to me,” Shellard said in a phone interview with Patch on Monday from his home in Vernon. “I had no black paint, but I had a pen and ink and was able to get a ride 20 minutes up the road and see Nancy.”

Shellard wasn’t able to be with his wife on their wedding anniversary because the coronavirus has forced nursing homes across the state to prohibit visitors to protect residents.

Evergreen Health Care Center in Stafford, where Bob Shellard staged a special celebration for his wife, Nancy, on their 67th wedding anniversary. (Tim Jensen/Patch)

Shellard said he remembers the first journey to his wife “like it was yesterday.” The shipwreck and the voyages across the Atlantic weren’t simultaneous but were certainly connected, he said.

Shellard said it was in the early 1930s. He was with his dad and mom watching a competitive swim between Lighthouse Point in New Haven and Savin Rock in West Haven. A ferry accident left a pier in shambles and his mom injured, and the ordeal prompted the family to move to the United Kingdom, where it had ties.

Shellard eventually came back to the United States “after the war.” That’s World War II.

“That’s when I met Nancy,” he said.

And in “a couple of years,” they were married.

Fast forward to 2020.

“I didn’t expect this to happen,” Shellard said of the coronavirus outbreak. But like a true member of the Greatest Generation, he improvised. He said he has a background in clowns but thought dressing up might scare a few folks already on edge. The poster and phone had to do.

It was a surprise, and it made an impression. He managed to get a wave from Nancy.

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