‘Until it happens to you, you just can’t imagine’
by Kara Rose
Mary Waldron Ball said she first met her husband, Billy Ball, in the mailroom of their building at Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg about 15 years ago.
The two met when they were neighbors. Mary, now 84, lived in room 105 with her husband. Billy, now 88, lived in room 113 with his wife.
“We had known him and his wife fairly well,” Mary said. “Being on the same floor in the same building, we saw each other frequently.”
When Billy’s wife of 57 years died in 2003 after being diagnosed with cancer, Mary said, he spent a good deal of time with Mary and her husband of 52 years, who was sick for three years before he died in June 2005.
Mary said their spouses’ deaths were “not totally unexpected,” so they were “pretty well prepared.”
In December, Mary asked Billy to accompany her to a Christmas party she went to every year for her golf club.
She was worried he would say no, but Billy said he was “glad” she had asked him.
“I didn’t know what I’d have done if he said no,” Mary said. “We had such a wonderful time. Things were never the same after that.”
Mary said the couple was dedicated to each other. She went with Billy to Florida to meet some of his family and they eventually moved in together.
“To think that at this stage of life, this wonderful thing can happen,” Mary said. “You read about things and hear about things, but until it happens to you, you just can’t imagine.”
After Billy suffered a serious stroke, the couple decided to get married in December 2008 to make the most out of life, Mary said. The only people who knew about the ceremony were the priest who married them and one person who was a witness and took pictures.
“When you have reached this stage of life, you’ve been through so very many things and you really know what this means,” said Mary, who did most of the talking since Billy has trouble with his speech due to his stroke. “It’s something we both have treasured ever since.”
Though Billy and Mary have five great-grandchildren, seven grandchildren and five children between the two of them, she said she has never felt like so much of a teenager as she did when she was dating Billy.
“We still feel like the luckiest people in the world regardless of what happens and what has happened to us,” Mary said.