In a heartwarming tale of love, destiny, and second chances, a 93-year-old New Jersey man is preparing to tie the knot with the woman he met at a wedding more than six decades ago. Joseph Potenzano, a lifelong bachelor, is set to wed the love of his life, Mary Elkind, whom he first encountered at a wedding in Paramus, New Jersey, in 1959.
As the best man at his sister’s wedding, Joseph Potenzano was introduced to Mary Elkind, who held the role of maid of honor. Their journey of love began that fateful day, and their story has now come full circle as they prepare to say their vows on October 15, 64 years later.
Potenzano, who spoke to the Star Ledger ahead of their upcoming nuptials, shared his thoughts on the whirlwind romance, saying, “If this romance is going to go anywhere, it’s got to happen fast. That’s why I broached the subject of marriage. Because at 93, I may only have a few more years.”
Their connection at the initial wedding was unmistakable, with Elkind, now 83, admitting she thought Potenzano was “cute.” Following the event, the pair even went on a few dates, but life took them in separate directions.
Mary Elkind, a professional dancer who graced the stage at Radio City Music Hall, embarked on a European tour with her ballet company, while Joseph Potenzano pursued engineering studies at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck in 1960. “I had my mind elsewhere,” he reflected. “She was at Radio City making a name for herself.”
Their paths continued to diverge, as Elkind eventually married another man in 1962, with Potenzano attending her wedding and other family events over the years. Elkind raised three children in Rockland County while Potenzano explored other relationships, none of which led to marriage.
Potenzano shared his perspective on his lifelong bachelor status, saying, “It was a strange thing. It was something in life that always evaded me.”
However, destiny had plans in store for the two. After Mary Elkind’s husband passed away nine years ago, Joseph Potenzano finally mustered the courage to ask her out last year. Loneliness and a dwindling circle of friends compelled him to take the leap. “I was lonely, and I had very few friends left,” Potenzano explained. “But I decided that being lonely was not an option I was willing to die with.”
Their first date, marked by the simple gesture of holding hands, sparked a profound connection. Elkind expressed her feelings, stating, “It triggered a good feeling.” As their relationship deepened, Potenzano broached the topic of marriage after numerous dates and phone calls.
Mary Elkind initially had reservations, but she ultimately embraced the idea. Reflecting on her feelings over the years, she shared, “I’ve always cared for Joe. There were times when I wondered what my life would have been like if I married Joe. So that’s what makes it easy for me.”
Their love story has come full circle, and after their fall wedding, the couple plans to jet off to Cape Cod to begin the next chapter of their lives. Joseph Potenzano humorously noted that the “only negative” aspect of their union is their inability to have children, to which Mary Elkind quickly responded, “But we already have a godchild.”
As Joseph Potenzano and Mary Elkind prepare to walk down the aisle and embark on this new adventure together, their remarkable love story serves as a testament to the enduring power of love, the importance of second chances, and the notion that it’s never too late to find true happiness.