Gretchen and Mark’s intimate celebration was a wonderful way to finish off our 2011 wedding season.
And as Gretchen told me, “Mark and my story is one of joy, grief, and many, many, blessings.”
The couple, who have known each other for many years, both lost a spouse to cancer. Gretchen’s first husband, also Mark, was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer in 1988. “He was an amazing man who dealt with his illness with tremendous courage,” Gretchen noted.
Mark’s wife Louella was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. Gretchen and Mark would speak every so often about caring for a spouse with cancer. Mark lost his wife in April 2008 and Gretchen’s husband passed away in August 2008.
Gretchen said, “There are not many people widowed in their 40s who are raising children, so Mark and I continued to talk every so often. We both loved our spouses very much and grieved their loss very hard. In early 2010 Mark and I met for a business lunch and spent two hours talking about our spouses. A few weeks later we met for a not so business lunch and that was the beginning of our life as a couple.”
She added, “He has two wonderful boys, Russ and Luke, and I have two great kids in Alec and Gracie. We are incredibly blessed in that despite having lost so much so young, the kids recognize that our relationship makes their parents happy and they have been really supportive. This doesn’t mean we haven’t had bumps, but so far it has worked well and Mark and I are very excited about our new life as a family.”
Gretchen’s friend, the Rev. Katherine Kerr, led the service at First Presbyterian Church in Charlotte . They had become close during Gretchen’s husband’s illness.
Following the ceremony in the church’s chapel, the group moved to Myers Park Country Club to celebrate. Thanks to Karen Litton, event coordinator at the club, and the Rev. Kerr for their help.
It was a privilege to play a small part in this special celebration and best of luck Gretchen, Mark and their children!
Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year to all!