A Tsawwassen couple is proof positive that no matter what age you are, there’s still time for love, hope and companionship.
In front of approximately 200 family and friends, Shari Boyce, 85, and Ken Lillie, 81, were married at KinVillage Community Centre in Tsawwassen on Saturday afternoon.
It’s the second marriage for both of the long-standing community members.
Their story started in February of this year when one of Lillie’s friends suggested he stop by KinVillage as a way to meet new people.
“He told me there is this bunch of guys who get together regularly for coffee,” he recalls. “So I dropped by and Shari is there. She comes by and she is kind of the house warmer. She comes by and says so you’re the new guy and I tell her that, yes, I was and after exchanging some pleasantries, I remarked that I had some new aftershave on and would she like to smell it, so I lean over and give her a kiss on the cheek. I think that sparked something.”
Boyce has lived in Tsawwassen for 50 years and has been a stalwart volunteer the past 30 at KinVillage as well as at the DYSL WearHouse Thrift Store. She teaches a line dancing class and organizes the famous Shari’s Saturday dance socials at KinVillage as well as works in the kitchen.
Her first husband Richard passed away in 1990. She has three children and two grandchildren.
Lillie was married for 53 years before his first wife Janet passed away last year. He has lived in the community for 23 years and has three daughters and 10 grandchildren.
Boyce said she noticed Ken as soon as he walked in the door on that fateful February day.
“He joined up with the group we call the Muggers because they drink a mug of coffee every morning at Kin,” she said. “I’ve gotten to know these fellows really well because I work in the kitchen, and so I call myself the Mugger Hugger, so he was a new mugger, so of course I had to check him out a bit.
“He looked like such a nice guy. Great eyes with a wonderful smile, just lovely, but I thought he was too young for me – he wouldn’t be interested in me.”
But fate had different ideas for the would-be couple.
“I was hoping I might find someone,” she said. “I sit at my window [at her Tsawwassen condo which overlooks a pond] seeing people holding hands, looking at the fish and I’m thinking what am I doing sitting here, I’d like someone to hold hands with. I prayed in fact that I would find someone and a few days later in walks Ken.”
After their first meeting and instant connection, she asked him if he would help out with one of her Saturday socials.
“We have so much in common, conversation-wise and our sense of humour, it ticked off all the boxes,” said Lillie. “It’s quite unusual to find someone so similar in interests. It’s been an adventure, but there was also something spiritual, I think. I felt like we were almost enlightened. I never went down there looking for a wife – I just went there for coffee.”
Boyce said she is not a church goer, but agrees other spiritual factors were at play.
“God has a plan for all us – wants us to be happy in life. You have to let go and let it happen and a week later Ken walks into my life and the rest is history,” she said.
Lillie said they were so inspired, they began to see each other every day.
“You know when you know and it wasn’t long after that I proposed,” he said.
Family and friends have embraced the happy couple.
“My family was a bit shocked at first because I had only lost my wife a year ago, but I told them I couldn’t see myself sitting here looking at the drywall for another winter,” he said. “Like Shari says, we are not meant to be alone, so Shari and I found each other and are going to spend our lives together.”
Boyce said as news of the impending nuptials spread, people from throughout the community have offered well wishes and congratulations.
“I’m on the street and people who don’t know me personally, but maybe from a friend of a friend, say how wonderful our story is and how happy they are for the both of us,” she said. “People at the centre – the news just exploded. So many people have offered to help with the wedding, decorations, food, you name it. It has been amazing.
“People have said you give us hope and you give us such happiness. I’m just so humbled by all the reactions from everyone about our story.”