McHENRY – It took Harry Cooke only moments to fall in love with his new bride, Margaret Klemm.
The pair, 85 and 86 years old respectively, met in July and after a brief courtship were married Saturday at Windhill Pancake Parlor in McHenry.
“Margie, I want to thank you for letting me sweep you off your feet,” Cooke said during the ceremony.
For her part, Klemm answered with an emphatic “I certainly will” when the officiant asked if she promised to love and cherish her new husband.
Cooke eyed Klemm, whom he affectionately calls “Margie,” on the day the pair moved into the McHenry Villa retirement community this summer.
But Klemm didn’t think twice about the man whom only months later she would embrace for a lingering kiss in front of 65 friends and family after exchanging vows.
“She didn’t remember me,” Cooke said after the ceremony.
But the intrepid suitor immediately tried to track her down. Cooke went knocking on what he thought was her door for three days straight – only to find out he was standing at her neighbor’s.
“They’ve been inseparable,” Klemm’s daughter-in-law and first-time flower girl Holly Klemm said. “They’re very cute and affectionate. He’s crazy in love with her.”
As maid of honor and wedding planner, Klemm’s daughter Christine Nye remembers discovering her mother’s blossoming relationship.
“She had a smile from ear to ear. I said, ‘Mom, do you have a boyfriend?’ She said ‘I think so,’ ” Nye said.
It turns out the pair had a lot in common, besides the fact that, as Klemm put it, “everyone says we look great as a couple.”
They moved into the Villa on the same day, both were previously married for 63 years, their birthdays are within a week of each other, and both are devoted to their large families – there are nine children between them.
“Believe it or not, she was easy to get,” Cooke said. “We were both ready to be married again.” His wife died a year ago.
Klemm, whose husband passed away four years ago, never believed she would marry again.
“I never thought I’d be that lucky,” she said. “He’s just the sweetest guy I’ve ever met. There isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for me.”
Cooke served aboard the USS Missouri in World War II and became a lithographer. Klemm was a homemaker and was well-known for her comedy skits at the Illinois Turner Camp in Algonquin.
Cooke popped the question in September. A Catholic, he wouldn’t live with Klemm until the two were married.
“As the senior male member of the family, I said, ‘I don’t remember getting a phone call asking for your hand,’ “ Klemm’s son, Larry, said about how he learned of the engagement. “Harry did call and said ‘I’m so crazy about Margie. I love her so much.’ He’s so over the top.”
The blushing bride wore a two-piece pink shift dress, with pink pearl earrings and necklace. She carried a bouquet of lilies and roses. Her blond hair was done up in curls, and her fingernails painted a light shade of pink. She was given away by Larry Klemm.
The dapper groom wore a navy pinstriped suit, stripped tie and pins from his military service. His best man was his son, Tom Cooke.
The two will live together at the Villa.
“I’m on cloud nine,” Margaret said as the newlywed held hands with her husband.