It started out to be a simple ceremony but became more complicated for an engaged couple. At least two weeks before the big day, Albert “Al” Marion joked that “I should have just gone and eloped.”
But Al, 88, of Walla Walla and Palm Springs, Calif., and fiancee Fran Ingram, 81, of Morton, Wash., persisted and finally tied the knot on March 29 at Wheatland Village in Walla Walla.
They celebrated their nuptials in a double wedding ceremony with Fran’s grandson Max Herald and fiancee Melissa Hunter, who also took their vows in the retirement residence’s chapel.
Their officiant, Chaplain Walt Meske, told Al these were his 379th and 380th weddings and his first double wedding. Walt also served as preacher when Albert’s daughter Bettylou and fiance Richard Streck wed 11 years ago.
Al grew up in San Pedro, Calif., and went to his uncle’s farm in North Dakota. Fran spent most of her life through her school years in Tacoma, Wash., and raised five daughters there with late husband Richard Ingram.
During his 20-year hitch in the Navy, Al’s wife Patricia followed him everywhere. He served as hospital corpsman aboard a diesel submarine, the USS Spinax SS49. But once he retired in 1969, “Pat told me, ‘now you have to follow me,’ and that’s how we got to Walla Walla.”
He worked at the Washington State Penitentiary and took day nursing courses while working nights, graduating in 1977 with Walla Walla Community College’s seventh class. He then was a registered nurse at the penitentiary for 12 years, retiring in 1990.
Fran and Al met 20 years ago when they and their spouses participated in a travel club. The group went all over and wintered at Desert Hot Springs, Calif. After their spouses died, Al “called and came to see me and never left,” Fran said.
Milton-Freewater residents Max and Melissa have two children, son Max, 5, and daughter Marissa, 3, and are expecting their third in September.
Melissa wore Bettylou’s cream-colored wedding dress with a long train and beading on the hem and bodice. She was escorted by her dad, Monti Hunter of Milton-Freewater.
Max’s brother, Nick Herald, walked Fran down the aisle, because “my dad’s been gone a long time,” she said.
Between 80-100 friends and family joined them for the ceremony and reception. The elder newlywed couple will settle at Wheatland Village.
Walla Walla Sweets Baseball Team Vice President/General Manager Zachary Fraser talked about the hometown team at a Sunrise Rotary meeting.
The Sweets’ fourth season opens on June 5, preceded by a Battle of the Badge on June 1. In that game, local law enforcement and firefighter teams will play to raise funds for Crime Watch, YMCA Youth Sustaining Campaign and Walla Walla Valley Girls Softball.
Zach said the Sweets signed four of their top run-makers from last year and are using data to evaluate new players.
They have five great prospects signed, two of whom are nationally ranked, he said.
Rotarians learned that Borleske Stadium is the oldest such structure in continuous use in Washington state and the Sweets have made $500,000 in improvements in the last four years.
Future upgrades will include the restrooms and third-base bleachers.
Promotions this season will include Ladies and Tough Enough to Wear Pink nights, College-, Patriot-, Halloween- and Luau-themed nights and Kids Day.
The Sweets Leadership Program benefits students with tickets and a free community clinic.
One of the reasons Zach provided the program is his desire to organize an annual Rotary fundraiser in conjunction with the Sweets to benefit Polio Plus and the Rotary Foundation.
The plan is to get the Walla Walla Noon and Sunrise and Milton-Freewater Rotary clubs involved.
For more information on the Sweets see wallawallasweets.com.
Sunrise Rotary meets at 6:45 a.m. Wednesdays for breakfast and community-interest programs at St. Francis Community Center, 722 W. Alder St.
For more details contact Sunrise Rotary President Hank Worden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 525-0838, or online see www.wallawallasunriserotary.org.
Although they didn’t count noses, members of Exchange Club of Walla Walla estimate children flocked “in the thousands” to the 54th annual Easter Egg Hunt March 29 in Pioneer Park.
The winners of the bicycles, the three biggest prizes, are Carmen Lopez, Mireya Gonzalez and Riley Gonzalez.
Exchangeites also gave away 23 Easter baskets full of goodies.
It’s an early-bird-gets-the-egg sort of event. Miss it by a minute or two and it’s over. The 9 a.m. hunt traditionally takes minutes, although extra searching lasted for half an hour.
One mom said, “It’s like watching a bunch of vacuum cleaners hoover the grass at warp speed.”
This year’s effort was under the auspices of Tina Bradbury, Exchange youth activities coordinator.
She was aided by husband Kyle Bradbury, approximately 20 members of Exchange Club, Beta Theta Pi fraternity and Kappa Alpha Theta sorority students at Whitman College, KUJ and Walla Walla Fire Department staff.
They broadcast 480 pounds of chocolate Easter eggs — 40,500 individually foil-wrapped eggs.
Exchange Club raises funds for this event with donations from Walmart and KUJ.
Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at email@example.com or afternoons at 526-8313.