Mike Melillo, a Wallingford resident all his life, has known the couple for nearly 30 years. “They were both fixtures at the Wallingford YMCA: Ralph used to work the weights, while Mary swam in the pool. They are well-liked people, had a great social life playing cards regularly with friends and they always got along well. It’s great to see them honored,” stated Melillo.
Those in attendance included Wallingford Mayor William Dickinson, Jr., the Correia's son Ralph Jr., his wife Eve, their two grandsons, a great-grandson, a niece, Mary’s former home care aid, their former “handyman,” members of their church, friends from their card group and their “new” friends at Regency House.
When it came time for the couple to arrive at the surprise event, there were few dry eyes left in the center’s main dining room. Mary and Ralph entered the room to a round of applause and standing ovation, followed by hugs and reminiscing with friends and family members.
Jen Donovan, RN, Regency House’s director of nursing services introduced Mayor Dickinson who presented a proclamation from the Town of Wallingford declaring July 24, 2013 “Mary & Ralph Correia Day.”
Guests enjoyed French onion soup, followed by penne alla vodka, then a mixed greens salad, and topped off by the main course, which included a choice of filet mignon, stuffed shrimp, or Cornish game hens. Once the dinner plates were cleared, a traditional cake cutting by the “bride and groom” took place.
Eighty-eight year old Mary thanked the guests, including “wonderful family and friends who I’ve known for 50 years, and now my new friends at Regency House.” Ralph added some comic relief to the touching moment by adding in his comments after Mary’s impromptu remarks: “That goes for me too,” to a round of laughter and applause.
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