Valentine's Day: Love's Lessons

A good love story is welcome in every season, but February seems an especially appropriate time to highlight some of our local sweethearts. Since romance is in the air, we’re featuring three love matches: a darling couple joyfully embracing their second chance at love; a pair who married late and are now enraptured with their young son; and a couple whose next anniversary cake will have the numbers 7 and 0 prominently displayed. (She’s 100 and perhaps qualifies for cougar status, since her husband is just 95.)
Each couple has wisdom to share about love’s lessons.

Stories by Anne Rodgers

Photography by Libby Volgyes/The Coastal Star

Lenny and Roz Sutton, Harbour’s Edge

For this couple, love is just as sweet

the second time around

7960419063?profile=originalDr. Lenny and Roslyn ‘Roz’ Sutton first met in 1960. They have been married 11 years.


The Sutton’s first met in 1960, at a family wedding. Roz’s sister was married to Lenny’s brother, and the clan was always getting together.

“I loved her husband and she loved my wife,” explains Lenny, a retired cardiologist with perfect diction and a twinkle in his eye. “I was Uncle Lenny to her sons!” 

Roz was widowed after 38 years of marriage to her cherished Bernie; Lenny enjoyed 52 years with his spouse, Harriet. 

Neither ever expected to love again. 

But Roz was family, so of course Lenny looked her up whenever he visited his sister in Florida. 

And when Roz rented an apartment in Providence R.I. (her sister lived there), Lenny offered to show her around, since he was a local. 

Before long, waiters in town were asking the couple how long they’d been married.

“People said we were a cute couple, and I always told them it’s because we’re not married,” says Roz, laughing.

Lenny fell in love first. 

“She was so warm; every statement she made was just filled with warmth. It wasn’t a put on. I just loved her honesty.”

For him, “The bells rang and the lights went on.” 

It was Sept. 3, 2000. The couple had decided to eat in to celebrate Lenny’s birthday; Roz had bought a fruit tart and decorated it with a single candle. 

“I was leaning against the kitchen door jamb and I had the tart in my hand and I suddenly said ‘Marry me!’” Lenny relates gleefully. 

“That was the first big kiss I got from him,” Roz chimes in. “A kiss on the forehead was all he’d done till then.”

Though Roz was drawn to Lenny’s kindness and thoughtfulness, she wasn’t sure.

“I was afraid; I thought it can’t happen to someone twice,” she says. “How could love be so wonderful the second time?” 

Of course Lenny won out; the lovebirds have now been married 11 years. They are constantly talking, they kiss openly (even in public, admits Roz), and hold hands on their morning walk. 

“We just keep finding and discovering things about each other,” says Roz, who at 80, is 10 years younger than Lenny.

The couple speaks openly of their first spouses, which brings them both joy.

“It was a different phase of life,” Roz explains. “We were raising families and building businesses. It would be sad to have to cut that out of your life suddenly, like you didn’t exist before the other person came into your life.” 

“We recall wonderful moments with each other’s mates,” agrees Lenny. “Unfortunately, some people don’t want to speak of their previous marriage because someone might get jealous or something silly like that.

“We love each other with the same intensity as our first,” he shares. “It’s just a different chapter of your life.”          

Mike and Lillian Levine, Abbey Delray South

 A love affair that has endured seven decades shows no sign of cooling down.


Mike and Lillian Levine are looking forward to their 70th anniversary this year.
Lillian turns 101 in March. Mike is 95.

This couple counts 69 years — so far — of married life. They were friends for a decade before he popped the question, and they remain best of friends today. 

They got hitched in 1943, just four days after Mike graduated officers school, and only a couple days after they first discussed the idea of marriage. But once the bit was between his teeth, Mike seized the first excuse for a wedding.

On the spur of the moment — when the couple discovered all planes were grounded for a planned trip from Chicago to New York — Mike suggested they get married instead. 

“I didn’t do it; it was all him,” insists Lillian. So instead of driving home to wait for the weather to clear, the couple stored their bags, caught a cab and got a blood test on their way to City Hall. 

“We stopped at Marshall Field’s, too, because I’d lost my gloves,” Lillian chimes in. 

The newlyweds then made a switch from planes to trains, and ended up honeymooning in a private room on the 20th Century Limited from Chicago to New York City.

“Everyone said it wouldn’t last,” says Lillian. “I don’t exactly know why I said ‘yes’, but I’m awfully glad I did. He’s a keeper.” 

The couple — she was an interior designer, he won sales awards at automotive dealerships — moved to Abbey Delray South in 2005. An Oriental flair is evident in much of the artwork and décor in the apartment, which features bright rugs and white sofas.

When Lillian turned 100 last March, no fewer than four parties commemorated the occasion, while Mike looked proudly on, telling any and everyone that he was five years, seven months and 10 days younger than his wife.

“I studied the actuarial tables,” he says wryly. “I knew women lived longer than men.” 

So what’s kept them together through the decades?

“Glue!” quips Mike, as Lillian tackles the question head on. 

“Well, he’s one of the brightest men I know,” she answers. “Plus, he is such a good husband. He does things for me that are absolutely fantastic. He makes the bed every morning, he does the dishes, he helps me whenever he can.”

Her praise spurs Mike to compliment Lillian as a great housekeeper, an imaginative cook and a great hostess.

“Plus, she’s a good listener and I talk a lot,” he continues. “And she’s good company! What more could you ask

Lia Schultz and Tyrone Halfhill, Briny Breezes

 In this relationship, each partner helps the other achieve the goals they have set.

7960419081?profile=originalTyrone Halfhill and Lia Schultz met when she was walking her dog
back from the beach and he was  getting ready for a toga party.

Living proof that opposites attract — Lia and Tyrone found one another in 2004. 

“I like a beer on the beach and she likes classical piano,” Tyrone explains. She’s the introvert; he most definitely is not. 

When they met, Lia was an Iowa farm girl with just a few years of Florida living. 

While walking her dog back from the beach, she spotted Tyrone there on Briny Breezes Boulevard, cutting some rope to use as a belt for that night’s toga party. 

“I thought she was attractive,” recalls Tyrone, 41, who moved to Florida 18 years ago. “I talked to her and she blew me off. But I tried again. The third time I said something, she flinched, and I was like, ‘Yeah, got her.’ ”

Lia says she agreed to don a toga that night “because my field is higher education and I thought it was a professional requirement to go to at least one toga party.”

The party’s setting was lush, she recalls, and she decided Tyrone was the “best guy there.”

He asked her to come back to the beach the next day to learn about kite surfing, which she did. 

From there, it was a short road to moonlit sails on Tyrone’s catamaran and romantic bonfires on the beach. 

“He’s the only person who never holds me back,” says Lia, 37. “I know I can grow and learn and reach my potential with him as my partner.” 

There was no formal proposal; but Tyrone and Lia wanted to focus on a family and together they just agreed that 11/11/11 was the perfect wedding day. The plan was to get hitched in Hawaii, but son Tytan made an early arrival, so the couple got married close to the spot where they met.

These days, they confess to being enraptured with their son, and say parenting him connects them deeply. 

Though they sleep at their home in Boynton Beach, each day after work finds them in Briny Breezes, at the trailer where Tyrone’s mom lives, spending quality time with their 1-year-old. 

Right from the start, the couple wanted things to be special for Tytan.

“We had a home birth,” Lia says. “Tyrone was so tuned in and supportive through the whole process. It was really a bonding experience for us — in a big way.” 

“She didn’t even take an aspirin,” Tyrone adds with pride.

When asked if there’s a secret to their success, Lia says it pays to keep a desire list and help one another achieve it. 

“Focus on daily pleasures instead of conflict.”                


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