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Finding love later in life in Barrie

Cheryl Browne

By Cheryl Browne, Barrie Examiner

Jack Ferguson, 80,  and Doris Murphy, 79,  who met last fall will be enjoying their first Valentine's Day together. 
 in Barrie, Ont. on Thursday February 5, 2015. Mark Wanzel/Barrie Examiner/QMI Agency

Jack Ferguson, 80, and Doris Murphy, 79, who met last fall will be enjoying their first Valentine's Day together. in Barrie, Ont. on Thursday February 5, 2015. Mark Wanzel/Barrie Examiner/QMI Agency

During the past 25 years, their paths have crossed a dozen times but they didn't meet until six months ago.

But since Jack Ferguson, 80, and Doris Murphy, 79, met in October for lunch at the Bayfield Street Swiss Chalet, they haven't spent much time apart.

“I drove, but she showed up in a taxi, just in case,” Ferguson said from Murphy's Bayshore Landing condominium at Barrie's waterfront.

“I thought, if I don't like him, I don't want to get in a car with him. I'll just take a cab home,” Murphy said and they laughed.

“I think lunch lasted four hours,” he said grinning.

The easy banter is a joy to both of them.

Murphy's first marriage lasted 50 years, her second for another five years. Outliving both husbands, Murphy said she had no intention of living the rest of her days by herself.

“They were both very, happy marriages and I don't like being alone,” she said.

Ferguson was happily married for 35 years and lost his wife in 2010, he said.

“It took me a couple of years to get my feet back under me. But when you're out of circulation, it's not easy. I have a lot of men friends – or know the wives of men who were friends before they died – but that would be like dating my sister,” he said.

He said he spent enough time sitting at home watching television alone before he forced himself to do something about it.

“People can turn to alcohol, be grumpy or feel sorry for yourself, and I did not want to be like that,” he said.

Both Ferguson and Murphy joined Misty River Introductions, a matchmaking service run by Linda Miller for the past 22 years. Like a good old-fashioned village matchmaker, Miller interviews clients, creates profiles and shares those with other clients she believes will do well together.

“For most seniors, the Internet is an unknown entity. They're worried about scams and being taken advantage of, so online dating doesn't appeal to them,” Miller said.

People are living longer, healthier lives, she said, adding it becomes more important to find someone to share the rest of their life with.

“I like working with seniors. They say, 'I just didn't know falling in love would feel the same way as it did when I was 18 years old',” she said. “They thought they'd just meet someone and settle into a relationship but they have these wonderful feelings, they're nervous before a date and excited and it's something they haven't felt in a long time.”

Although Ferguson said they don't discuss religion and politics, they love the same music, food and have great conversations.

Unbeknownst to them, they also share the same doctor, dentist, skied the same hills in the Laurentians and in the summer of 1990, vacationed with their respective spouses in the small town of Dundee, Que., which has a population of approximately 400 people.

“I can't believe we haven't met before this,” Ferguson said, shaking his head.

“We have a lot in common. I can say, 'hey do you remember the '48 Chev, and she'll say 'yeah, I had one'.”

Murphy said Ferguson still maintains his home in Innisfil, but they spend a lot of time in her condo overlooking Kempenfelt Bay.

“You meet people, and don't always have the same chemistry, or something doesn't click. This is different,” she said. “It's just felt right since the first date.”

cheryl.browne@sunmedia.ca

Twitter.com/cherylbrowne1

 

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