89-year-olds wed after sparks fly at school reunion

Roberta Mahan and August Offer met at Brackenridge High School’s 70-year reunion.

In a world obsessed with young love, or love among the rich and famous, this is an everyday story of exceptional love, found not in life’s prime but toward the end of two lives fully lived. Both are 89 years old.

“You are a testimony of hope for all of us,” Rev. Buckner Fanning told the couple in front of about 200 friends and family members.

Like typical newlyweds, they like to marvel at the forces that united them. Mahan lived alone for 25 years since her husband died. After retiring as a journalism teacher at Sam Houston High School, she stayed socially connected. She kept up with old students, joined a dinner club and worked out with a group of women three times a week. She dated frequently, but never seriously.

Offer, retired from Missouri Pacific Railroad and lost his wife in 2004 but kept up less with high school pals than his group of World War II veteran friends. He decided — at the last minute — to attend that fateful reunion lunch. The group of original graduates had thinned over the years so the gatherings were open to family members and usually drew big turnouts. By the time he called, reservations were closed.

“They almost didn’t let me in,” Offer says. “It was divine intervention.”

Sitting one chair away from him, Mahan didn’t pay much attention to Offer until she heard him mention that he hated eating meals alone. She picked up on it and invited him to her dinner group. He suggested they should get together to reminisce about old times. She invited him to her house that afternoon.

The couple seems giddy. Every morning, they coordinate their outfits to match. Offer makes coffee, while she reads the newspaper to him. Driving in the car, they always hold hands. They linger over breakfasts at a neighborhood diner, just the two of them talking, sometimes stopping only when they notice the lunch crowd has arrived. And in one of the greatest benchmarks of his affection, Offer has even begun watching Mahan’s soap opera.

They attribute their longevity to staying active.

From a story by Karisa King in the San Antonio Express, San Antonio, Texas.