By Lindsay Emery
After 75 years of marriage, Yorktown residents George and Gloria Personick always remember to hold each other’s hands and kiss one another at night just before bed.
“If you’re arguing or anything, always kiss at night before you go to bed,” Gloria said. “That should be the Bible really. You should kiss each other before going to bed. And let him hold your hand.”
Sharing their inseparable bond, the longtime couple embraced each other closely as George, a World War II veteran, celebrated his 102nd birthday last Friday at the Yorktown Assisted Living Residence in Cortlandt Manor.
George has been a resident there since 2017. Gloria moved in shortly after.
While the pair have celebrated countless birthdays together, their story dates to when they were children playing in the backyard in The Bronx. Gloria recalled being invited over to George’s house by his sister when she was 12, remembering the admiration she had for him shadow boxing and jumping rope with his brothers and father.
But when George was drafted to serve in the Army, George’s sister encouraged Gloria to write him letters, even though they really didn’t know each other. George served as a combat medic in World War II, where he performed surgery in the field and worked in hospitals in China, Burma and India.
“She said, ‘Just write him a letter so when he comes home, he’ll have something to come home to,’” Gloria explained. “So, I did foolishly. I got trapped.”
What started as cordial messages soon transitioned into love letters. When George arrived back in New York, Gloria met him in Times Square. Twenty-seven days later they were married.
Following his military tour, George went on to serve his community as a physical therapist in the VA, and then eventually as a nurse in Peekskill Hospital until he retired in his 70s. He and Gloria have two daughters, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, all of whom joined them on ZOOM last week to celebrate his momentous milestone.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the facility arranged for a ZOOM gathering of close friends and family before enjoying George’s favorite dinner.
“I’m excited because I’m going to see a lot of people,” George said.
Along with family and friends, the facility’s staff and Yorktown Supervisor Matt Slater all joined in the celebration.