By Matt de Simone
Jerry Laufer married his girlfriend of 35 years, Marianne Brewster, at The Brian Center in Fincastle last Saturday morning.
Jerry and Marianne are residents of West Virginia. Marianne currently receives treatment at the Brian Center for respiratory care.
In 1998, Marianne suffered from a brain aneurism. Three days later, after the aneurism, doctors feared she had suffered a stroke, and in 72 hours, she wouldn’t survive. Marianne survived the stroke despite losing feeling in the left side of her body. After three rehab hospitals and months of therapy, she retained feeling on her left side except in her left hand.
“She’s a miracle,” Jerry stated in a recent interview. “She’s had a heart attack—survived that. She’s had kidney disease. She survived double pneumonia last January.”
Jerry wanted to give the love of his life a special day. The couple never wanted to get married after they had failed relationships in the past.
Jerry and Marianne first met at a social function at a country club around 1986. Jerry decided to join his friends for a bite to eat at the last minute. A mutual friend introduced Jerry to Marianne.
Jerry asked Marianne to join him and a few of his friends at Cuz’s Uptown Barbeque in Cedar Bluff, Va. Laufer picked up his friends and met Marianne at the restaurant.
“We had a wonderful time (at Cuz’s),” Jerry recalled. “She looked fabulous.”
Jerry and Marianne attended a nightclub to conclude their evening. They decided to go out the following Friday. Jerry called her that morning, but Marianne was hesitant due to not hearing from Jerry until that following Friday. She backed out of the second date. Marianne had previously been unlucky in love and thought Jerry was another bad egg.
The next day, Marianne– who felt bad about not giving Jerry a second chance– went over to Jerry’s apartment and explained why she backed out over breakfast.
“She said, ‘I’m really sorry,’” Jerry recalled. “My mind was racing. A year earlier, I had been dating around, but it wasn’t clicking. Marianne had a great personality. I’m thinking, ‘How brave is she (for showing up on my doorstep)?’ At that moment, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this woman.”
After that day, Jerry and Marianne have been together since.
“(Her condition is) really touch-and-go now,” Jerry said. “I’m thinking, ‘we’ve been a couple; what are we waiting for?’ At least let’s have the benefit of a marriage of some sort. We’ve outlasted a lot of married couples, anyway. We’ve built a life of projects and the excitement of doing stuff together. We consider ourselves married. I never thought of the joy of actually being married. (Getting legally married) is more wonderful.”
They shared their day with friends, family, and staff in the lobby of The Brian Center, who donated their time to help Laufer with wedding preparations. Refreshments were served at a reception in the facility following the wedding ceremony.