Joseph Potenzano, 93, to wed woman he met 64 years ago

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By Dan Sears

A 93-year-old New Jersey man is getting married to the love of his life who he first met at a wedding more than 60 years ago when he was the groom’s best man and she was the maid of honor.

The love story of lifelong bachelor Joseph Potenzano and his bride-to-be Mary Elkind began 64 years ago at his sister’s wedding in Paramus, the couple told the Star Ledger Sunday ahead of their Oct. 15 nuptials.

“If this romance is going to go anywhere, it’s got to happen fast,” he told the newspaper. “That’s why I broached the subject of marriage. Because at 93 I may only have a few more years.”

When the two first met at the wedding in 1959, Elkind, 83, admittedly thought he was cute.

The two even went out a few times afterward, but it never led to anything more at the time.

Elkind, a professional dancer who performed at Radio City Music Hall, went off on tour to Europe with her ballet company while Potenzano enrolled at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck to study engineering in 1960.

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New Jersey natives Joe Potenzano 93 and Mary Elkind  84 are set to wed after meeting 64 years earlier at a wedding.
New Jersey natives Joe Potenzano, 93, and Mary Elkind, 83, are set to wed after meeting 64 years earlier at a wedding.
ABC7NY

The two are planning to get married on Oct. 15.
The two are planning to get married on Oct. 15.
ABC7NY

“I had my mind elsewhere,” he said. “She was at Radio City making a name for herself.”

Elkind eventually got married to another man in 1962. Potenzano was at the wedding and other family events over the years as Elkind raised three children in Rockland County, the Star Ledger reported.

Though Potenzano went on other dates with women, it never reached marriage.

“It was a strange thing,” he said. “It was something in life that always evaded me. “


The two met more than 60 years ago.
The two met more than 60 years ago.
ABC7NY

After Elkind’s husband died nine years ago, Potenzano finally asked her out last year.

“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.”

After the two held hands on the first date, Elkind told the news outlet “it triggered a good feeling.”

When Potenzano brought up marriage after many dates and phone calls, his newly minted fiancée initially wasn’t sure before coming around to the idea.

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“I’ve always cared for Joe,” she said, admitting over the years “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.”

After their fall wedding, the couple will jet off to Cape Cod.

And while Potenzano noted the “only negative” is the two can’t have kids, Elkind was quick to point out “But we already have a godchild.”

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