Wife surprises husband of 74 years with vow renewal ceremony

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A 99-year-old woman had quite the surprise on Wednesday for her husband on their 74th anniversary.

Helen Rex and her husband Stewart, who are from Richmond, Virginia, have been married since World War II.

The Lucy Corr Village in Chesterfield was in on the surprise with Helen so that she and her husband, a Navy veteran and resident of the facility, could renew their vows.

Volunteers came in to make it happen. Ashley Cimburke with Batalash gave Helen a makeover, and a solo harpist played during the ceremony.

Family and friends filled the room to witness the couple renew their vows. 98-year-old Stewart didn't know about the ceremony until he put on the "Groom" hat and started rolling down the aisle.

When he saw his wife, it was like the first time all over again.

"Will you marry me again?" Stewart asked Helen before they kissed.

The Richmond couple met in the middle of World War II. Stewart was in the U.S. Navy.

"They met at a church at a dance, and dad saw her across the room," says Darlene Rex-Roberson. "She was dancing with a soldier, and he told his buddy, 'I'm going to marry her.'"

The family says he cut in and didn't let go. A couple months later, they were married and Stewart shipped out to fight for his country.

The example they have set is something the family does not take for granted.

"I have wonderful parents," says Rex- Roberson. "They've been such an example. I mean, they truly love each other, and they'll do anything for each other."

Of course, we had to ask: how do you make it work?

"By doing what's right," says Helen. "And helping others. I love doing things for people. I've always enjoyed doing things for people."

When we asked Stewart, he said, "I didn't get there late!" Not sure if he meant late to the dance or the wedding, but he did call Helen the sweetest lady in the world.

"And I don't lie," he said.

Helen and Stewart Rex have two daughters, two grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

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