'Fate Opened the Door': Pair Weds 50 Years After Romance
Stephen Walbert says he can face his leukemia with Jennifer Meyerink by his side
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2017 3:15 PM CDT
Meyerink fixes Walbert's hair before they take their vows.   (Twitter)
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(Newser) – A US Navy officer, the Trinidad girl he loved, and 50 years separating them since. Those years have now disappeared with a reunion for Stephen Walbert and Jennifer Meyerink and their rekindled romance in the face of adversity, including Walbert's recent cancer diagnosis. The two met as teens in 1962 when Walbert was stationed in Meyerink's native Trinidad and he was a DJ on the Navy base there, per USA Today. He'd dedicate songs to his "Jenny," and when he was honorably discharged in 1965, he gave her a parting gift: his military dog tag. They went on to marry others and have kids (Walbert had two, Meyerink one), but in 2014, Meyerink's husband died. In 2015 she asked her sister to help her find Walbert. They did, via Facebook, and Meyerink emailed Walbert, whose wife had also died in 2014. The two emailed and called before finally meeting months later in Toronto, where Meyerink lived.

"As soon as I saw her, I knew that flame was still burning," Walbert, 73, says of Meyerink, now 72, per USA Today. "Fate opened the door after all those years." During that first face-to-face meeting, Meyerink pulled out the dog tag Walbert had given her a half-century ago. "I almost fainted," Walbert tells Inside Edition, noting he proposed the same day he saw the tag, still in "pristine condition." Meyerink says she kept it all this time in a piece of luggage. Walbert moved to Canada to be with Meyerink, but he was diagnosed with leukemia last year and went back to the US for treatment. On Monday, however, the couple finally wed at New York's Rochester General Hospital, with Walbert dressed as Elvis, one of their favorite singers. "I have her back. And that gives me all the strength I need to get through the rest of my life," Walbert says, per USA Today. "I never stopped loving him," Meyerink adds.

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