I thee wed - again

Deaf pair marries - 55 years after the first time

April 23, 2008 By Paula Evans Neuman, The News-Herald

When Elizabeth Dilena and Rex Clark first wed, it was 1954. Dilena (whose real name is Gladys, but she goes by Elizabeth) first met Clark in Chicago. She was on vacation from her home in Michigan, and he worked in Illinois as a butcher. Both are deaf, but that didn't hamper their courtship one bit. After dating for a month, they got married.

Things didn't work out too well for the young couple, and they divorced in 1959.

Clark moved to Utah and married someone else in 1963. Dilena, too, married again. She became a widow in 1993.

In 2005, Clark, using Sorenson Video Relay Service for the deaf, contacted Dilena. He wanted to introduce her to his wife.

A short while later, Clark's wife died. He and Dilena continued to correspond via VRS, and after a time, he invited her to visit him in Utah.

She stayed for a couple of weeks, and then came back home to Michigan.

"It was then that Rex realized he had always been in love with Elizabeth," said Robyn Anderson, a friend of the couple and an interpreter for the deaf who works for Deaf Hearing Impaired Services.

Clark soon moved to Michigan to be near his long-ago former bride.

Anderson, who grew up in Gibraltar, assists a group of deaf friends every Tuesday at the Ford Senior Center in Taylor, where they meet to socialize and play cards.

Dilena and Clark dated for two years, and regularly went to the Tuesday sessions at the center.

Last week, the card games were interrupted so a wedding could take place.

Dilena and Clark were married again on April 15 - nearly 55 years after their first wedding. She is 74 now and he is 81.

Their ceremony was attended by other deaf friends from the senior center. The Rev. Ronald Dettloff performed the ceremony in American Sign Language.

Anderson said she has no doubts that the marriage will last this time.

"It's true love," she said.

From The News-Herald. Reprinted with permission. Back to Article List