Reunions
Couple says ‘I do’ 50 years after being split apart
Janice and Prentiss got engaged in college, but a disapproving father put an end to their relationship. Five decades later, their wedding dreams finally came true.
Colby Maxwell
06.02.22

When you love someone in your soul, no amount of time can keep you separated. Modern love stories usually span the course of a few years before wedding bells start ringing, but maybe, just maybe, the slow-burn stories of love have a lot more meaning.

For one couple, a 50-year journey finally ended with the marriage they had always hoped for.

Unsplash - Sandy Millar
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Unsplash - Sandy Millar

Janice Rude and Prentiss Willson met for the first time decades ago at Occidental College in 1961.

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YouTube - Only Good TV

From the first time the two met, they knew it was a match. Willson remembers it clearly, recounting how she was “much too beautiful for me”, but decided to go for it anyway. After talking, the two immediately hit it off and fell headlong into a relationship.

YouTube - Only Good TV
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YouTube - Only Good TV

Sadly, their fling wasn’t destined to last.

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YouTube - Only Good TV

Later that year, the two decided that it was clear – they were in love and wanted to get married! They announced the marriage in an Arcadia paper back in December of 1962, although they didn’t have an exact date as to when they were going to make things official.

Although the couple was elated, others were not.

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YouTube - Only Good TV

Almost a year later, Rude and Willson went to see Rude’s father on a holiday break. It was during this trip that things took a turn for the worse.

“My father forced us apart the following January by refusing to pay my tuition if I didn’t ‘stop seeing that boy,'” Rude told Occidental Magazine.

Sadly, the stress on the relationship pressed on an insecurity, bringing the happy couple to a screeching halt.

“Prentiss and I should have taken his mother’s advice at the time, which was to elope. I became fearful that Prentiss would be attracted to smarter women if I didn’t get a college degree. He did not understand my angst, and so we went our separate ways,” Rude said.

YouTube - Only Good TV
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YouTube - Only Good TV

Once the two separated, life continued on, as it always does.

The two graduated, married different people, and began successful careers. Rude ran her family’s business and Willson became an attorney in the Bay Area. Years later, however, both would end up divorcing, although neither had thought about the other in years.

Years later, however, both found newspaper clippings that showed the announcement they had made all those years ago.

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YouTube - Only Good TV

With the potential of rekindling old love, Willson reached out to Rude to see how she was. Over brunch in San Fransisco in 2010, the two realized that the spark had never gone out for each other! Less than half a year later, they decided to get engaged.

Within two years, the two officially got married on Branca Patio, right near where they first met!

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YouTube - Only Good TV

Despite spending 50 years apart, they immediately got to making up for the lost time.

“We continue to lament every day that we missed being together. That’s about 17,500 days, but who’s counting?” – Willson, Oxy.edu

Living in a home north of Napa, California, the two get to live life as they would have if pesky parents hadn’t gotten in the way. Love always finds a way, doesn’t it?

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YouTube - Only Good TV

Check out the video below to hear the couple talk about their unique love story!

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By Colby Maxwell
hi@sbly.com
Colby Maxwell is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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