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Valentine's Day vows

Couples wed on a holiday for lovers

Couples wed on a holiday for lovers

February 15, 2006|By PEPPER BALLARD and ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN

pepperb@herald-mail.com

erinc@herald-mail.com

Valentine is Lawrence Dowd Jr.'s middle name.

That's just one of the reasons the romantic, retired U.S. Postal Service engineer decided to get married on Valentine's Day.

The other reason: "We wanted to get out of Dodge and go someplace warm," his bride-to-be, Patricia Dailey, said with a laugh before the couple entered the Washington County Courthouse's new marriage room. They were the fifth couple to exchange vows Tuesday.

The couple ? a widow and a widower ? plan to have a Catholic church wedding in the future. They were headed to the Bahamas for their honeymoon.

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Dailey was married for 44 years; Dowd was married for 36.

Both said they believe that getting married again is a tribute to the success of their first marriages.

"If it wasn't good, you wouldn't want to do it again," Dailey said.

Dowd said "so far" his marriage on Valentine's Day is the most romantic gesture he's made for Dailey, an open-ended comment that got approval from Dailey's friends and family who were present for the service.

The couple plans to travel.

As Larry Straitiff and his new wife, Michele, walked out of the courthouse Tuesday, he leaned over, kissed his bride and said, "We did it."

The couple have lived together for three years, but after dedicating their lives to God, Michele said the couple, who live in Hagerstown, wanted to make if official.

"We just wanted to get married as soon as possible," she said. "We've lived together for years and wanted to make it right."

Michele purchased the marriage certificate Monday. It wasn't until later that the couple realized they would be married on Valentine's Day.

"It seemed like a nice idea," Larry said. "And it was important to do it as soon as possible."

Each has a child from a previous relationship. They picked up Michele's son, Matthew Lizer, 16, and Larry's son, Koty Straitiff, 14, after school and all four went to the courthouse for the ceremony.

Matthew was already referring to Koty as his stepbrother, minutes after the wedding.

"I'm looking forward to a committed life together with Larry and the kids that God is smiling on," Michele said.

David Seeber and Marci Iler met 25 years ago. After David's wife passed away and Marci was divorced, the two fell in love. That was nearly five years ago.

The couple chose Valentine's Day to be married at the courthouse. They had planned a lavish wedding, but after Marci's father and stepmother died, she said, the couple didn't have much of a reason for a large ceremony.

"We just decided Valentine's Day worked," she said.

Her son, Danny Iler, 18, and two of the couple's friends were with them Tuesday.

Donnie Miller, 60, and Debbie O'Brien, 51, have been married ? in their minds ? for the past 20 years.

That's at least how long the Hagerstown couple has been together.

On Tuesday, they decided to make it official.

"We just decided to do it," the new Mrs. Miller said as they waited for a Circuit Court deputy clerk to marry another couple. "We feel like we're married."

The couple met at City Park about 30 years ago and met again 20 years ago at Valley Mall. Both were divorced.

Donnie Miller said he chose Valentine's Day because it "was the right time for us."

"She's a very patient lady," he said. "We're already married in our hearts anyway."

O'Brien's niece, Stacey Wright, 34, of Boonsboro, called her new official uncle "a smart man."

"He's knocking out two holidays in one day," she said with a laugh.

Fifteen couples wed Tuesday at the courthouse.

That number is average for Valentine's Day, Deputy Clerk Tricia Bryan said.

The record, she said, is 31 ceremonies, which were performed Feb. 14, 1992.

"They think it's fun to do on Valentine's Day," she said. "It's a nice day for it."

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