SYCAMORE – You never know when romance will bloom.
That’s the experience of George and Sherry Spartz of Sycamore, who exchanged wedding vows at Chapel in the Pines in Sycamore on Feb. 22 – 47 years after they met.
“We’ve been friends a long, long time,” George Spartz said. “One thing led to another, we kind of got together, fell in love, and what are you going to do? It’s a small world. You never know.”
“It’s kind of like our journey in life led us to this unexpected crossroad we’re at,” Sherry Spartz said. “It’s almost like I have come full circle.”
When Sherry Spartz was a senior in high school, she worked at Anaconda Wire, where George’s first wife, Joann, was her boss. Joann died in 2012.
“We became instant friends,” Sherry said.
Sherry often stayed with George and Joann in their home north of Sycamore during the four years she attended the Rockford Memorial School of Nursing. The house was Joann’s childhood home, which George bought in 1964, two years after they married. George and Sherry live there today.
Sherry said George and Joann’s guidance led her to the adult she became.
“When I was 18, I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” she said. “I leaned on them so much.”
Sherry married and had three children, but after nine years, her marriage ended in divorce. Through the years, she said always felt she had someone she could count on in the Spartzes.
“They were always there for me,” she said. “Joann was kind of like a sister and mentor to me. She was the person I really depended on.”
Through the years, their lives always seemed to intermingle. When Sherry’s son Mike was in middle school, George got him involved in the Sycamore High School football chain gang, an involvement Sherry said remains to this day. When Joann passed away, Sherry was one of the friends who was there to support George.
Neither George nor Sherry really knows what happened next.
“We went to dinner a couple of times and something just kind of clicked between us,” Sherry said. “Both of us were taken back and so surprised that we had developed a different kind of relationship. It was totally new and unexpected. But we were both at ease with each other. We didn’t have to get to know each other.”
“I never figured this would happen,” George said. “But I never figured I’d lose my wife. She was always so healthy, exercising all the time.”
On May 8 of last year, George got down on one knee in the driveway of his house and proposed. It was the same place they had shared their first kiss. Although they had looked at rings, Sherry said she was still caught off-guard when it happened.
“He feels he has a lot of living left to do, and did not want to do it alone,” she said.
“I couldn’t ask for a better person to be with,” George said. He said his and Sherry’s kids get along, and they talk about Joann all the time.
“We were just connected,” Sherry said. “It’s like this is where I am supposed to be.”