Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Features

February 23, 2014

Half a Century and Happy: Winning over the confirmed bachelor

Nancy Dezelan captured the heart of a man who said he'd never marry

(Continued)

Bill and Nancy were married at the Justice of the Peace in Indianapolis on May 27, 1960, when Bill was 31 and Nancy was 18.

“We had a lot against us, but 54 years later, here we are,” Nancy said.

It didn’t take long for her parents to warm up to Bill. Nancy’s dad made only one request, asking that they go to church each Sunday. Bill had started going to church with Nancy while they were dating, and it continued on through their marriage.

“He ended up being my dad’s best friend,” Nancy said. “They thought he was the greatest thing ever. That’s how he won my parents over.”

Bill and Nancy moved to Kokomo after Bill got a job at Chrysler. After having their six children, Bill understood why Nancy’s parents reacted the way they did to his and Nancy’s engagement announcement.

“I never knew how they felt until we had our girls,” Bill said. “If somebody 12 years older wanted to date them, I’d probably get a shotgun out and shoot ‘em.”

At the start of their marriage, it was more of an adjustment for Bill, who was used to having his freedom and not having to come home after work every night.

“I thought I was going to change her to be rowdy like me and do things on the spur of the moment, but she changed me to be a better person,” he said.

Money was tight too, but the Joneses both worked a lot; Bill is retired from Delco Electronics and Nancy from Duke Energy. Their determination got them through those tough times.

Bill considers marrying Nancy the greatest thing he ever did.

“I love her more now than when we got married,” he said. “She’s got a way about her; you can’t help but like her.”

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