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Dying Man Achieves Final Wish With Diamond Ring for Wife

Apr 7, 2011 – 2:02 PM
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Susanna Baird Contributor

Everett "Pops" Potter slipped a diamond ring on his wife Betty's finger Monday, laying his life's biggest regret to rest.

Pops, 97, and Betty, 86, renewed their vows in the church where they were married 65 years ago. Their son, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even one of Betty's bridesmaids filled the pews, watching Pops put the ring on Betty's finger and listening to Pops and Betty declare their love for one another.

"They did a beautiful job reciting their vows," Sandy Guidrey told AOL News. Guidrey owns the Wayland (Mass.) Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center, a small facility where Pops and Betty have lived for four years.

"They really did well. It was a very nice thing. They kissed at the end. It's the perfect love story."

The perfect love story starts as a tale of two farms. Betty worked on her parents' chicken farm as a girl. During World War II, she also helped the Potter family on their farm. They were down a pair of hands while their son Everett served in the South Pacific.

When Pops returned home, he planned to return to the service. Then he saw Betty.

"I said, 'Oh, she's got nice legs,'" Pops told the Boston Globe.

That was enough to get Pops to pop the question. After a ceremony during which Pops was so nervous, the minister had to tell him to stop repeating, "I do," the couple moved to Natick, Mass. They worked, Pops as chemical operator and Betty as a secretary. They raised a son. Their love matured.

Now, Pops told the Globe, it's not just about Betty's legs.

"We've had a good marriage, believe me," Pops said. "Of course we're still in love. You know there's a lot more to love and marriage than just the sex part."

Pops keeps everyone laughing. Betty possesses a sweet nature.

"They are the darlings of the facility," Guidrey told AOL News.

Though she suffers from dementia, Betty's memory of the past remains strong. She and Pops do everything together, from attending trivia matches, where Pops rules, to playing Bingo, where Betty helps legally blind Pops cover the proper spaces.

Betty doesn't understand what "hospice" means, but Pop does. When Pops' health started failing, he arranged to receive hospice care at the nursing home. The staff asked him if he had any regrets. He had one. The staff decided to erase it.

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Keeping it secret from Betty, Pops picked out a diamond ring, paid for by the nursing home and hospice provider. Staff arranged for a trip north to New Hampshire. The current minister at the church where they were married even located one of Betty's bridesmaids.

Betty probably doesn't remember the ceremony a few short days ago, but she clearly recited her vows and marveled at her new ring.

"She was able to repeat the vows," Guidrey said. "She was very articulate with the repeating."

The Potters are back at the nursing home after their second ceremony. Guidrey speculates Everett has about six months of life left. He's expected to spend as much of that time as possible with Betty, she of the glorious legs and, finally, the sparkling diamond.

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