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Couple ties the knot after unique proposal

| Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, 7:21 p.m.
Bernie and Joan Haertjens

A cemetery doesn't seem like the ideal place for a marriage proposal, but for Bernie Haertjens and Joan Megrey-Haertjens it was perfect.

Megrey-Haertjens, 74, and Haertjens, 80, were married on Oct. 19 at Our Lady of Grace Church in Greensburg.

Before that, they got the blessing of their deceased spouses, who both are buried at St. Clair Cemetery in Greensburg.

“We had been going to St. Clair to see our previous spouses and thought that would be a good way to do it,” said Haertjens, who had been married to his first wife just shy of 50 years.

“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” he said.

The couple met at Redstone Highlands in Greensburg, where they are both residents and active within the community. Megrey-Haertjens teaches tai chi classes and is involved in a knitting group that donates their clothing to the St. Vincent de Paul Society for people in need. She also volunteers at the library.

She said she was initially attracted to Haertjens because of his own activities, including the choral society and involvement with Geyer Performing Arts Center in Scottdale.

But she was hesitant to get involved as her husband of 34 years had passed away in 2009 after battling an illness.

But Haertjens “was persistent,” she said with a laugh. “I found out we had a lot of shared interests. We both love music and love to travel, which sort of blended us together.”

For Haertjens, he found Megrey-Haertjens “vibrant,” “young,” “active” and “good-looking.”

The couple dated for two years before making the decision to be married. They honeymooned in Wintergreen, Va.

Redstone Highlands honored the couple this week with a wedding reception to celebrate with their Redstone family, since they wanted a small ceremony because they both had been married before.

“It's very uncommon here to see two people get married,” said Shawna Miller, communications coordinator at Redstone.

The last such marriage occurred in 2008.

“People usually move in single or already part of a couple,” Miller said. “They both moved in single, found that bond and fell in love. I think it's pretty remarkable.”

The couple agreed that their union is something pretty special.

“We didn't want to be alone. We love each other. We're young enough that we can still travel,” said Megrey-Haertjens. “To me, meeting someone I can enjoy the rest of my life with means an awful lot.”

Haertjens said marriage on the second go-round is the same, yet different.

“After 50 years, it becomes like, ‘Hey, we've been here a long time,'” he said. “After two weeks, it's not so long. It's a very nice thing to be a part of.”

Michele Stewardson is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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