Joyce Kevorkian and Jim Bowman, both 81, were high school sweethearts and prom dates growing up in Indiana — and after 64 years apart, the two have reconnected and fallen madly in love.
The couple tied the knot on April 1 at Kevorkian’s senior living center during an intimate ceremony Bowman described as “very special.”
“She’s even more beautiful now,” Bowman gushes to PEOPLE of his new bride. “We’re just as happy as can be.”
Kevorkian adds, “And he hasn’t changed that much! A little less hair, but he’s tall and handsome as ever.”
Kevorkian and Bowman first met through mutual friends at York High School in Elmhurst, Illinois.
“She was a real pretty young girl and fun loving!” says Bowman. “She had a nice, pretty smile and was friendly to everybody.
“Overall. just a super gal to be with.”
The couple began dating their junior year and hiked at the nearby state park, picnicked and attended formal dances together.
“He was fun to be with, we just had a lot in common and we were so innocent we just had a lot of fun,” says Kevorkian. “We both really liked to dance.”
They even attended their senior prom together — and had an “absolutely marvelous” time dancing the night away.
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“We did a lot of slow dancing, like ballroom,” recalls Kevorkian. “Especially the waltz and foxtrot.”
Adds Bowman, “You should have seen the dress she wore, it was gorgeous! It was big and fluffy.
“She looked like a princess.”
After graduation, the high school sweethearts parted ways and eventually lost contact.
Kevorkian attended Lawrence University in Wisconsin and Bowman went to the University of Illinois — where they both met their future spouses.
Bowman and his wife were married for 58 years before she passed away after having a stroke and developing Alzheimer’s disease. Kevorkian and her husband were together for 53 years before his death.
“It was a really sad occasion for us both,” explains Bowman. “I hadn’t talked to Joyce in years and years but I started wondering what she was doing after all these years.”
Bowman dug up Kevorkian’s address and sent her a letter. Kevorkian responded within a month and the two began rekindling their lost love.
“After many hours of phone conversations and emails, she asked me to visit her,” says Bowman. “We both like fun things and we both still have a good sense of humor and can laugh at each other. We both still liked to dance, we both love music and reading and hiking still.”
During that first visit, the couple slow danced in Kevorkian’s senior living facility in Notre Dame, Indiana, to Anne Murray’s “Could I Have This Last Dance.”
Bowman later asked his sweetheart on the phone if she “wanted to pick up where we left off 64 years ago.”
“I said, ‘I think that’s a good idea!’ ” says Kevorkian of the proposal.
The two tied the knot in the meditation room at Kevorkian’s senior living facility surrounded by a handful of friends and family members.
“It was just lovely,” says Kevorkian, with a giggle.
Kevorkian’s granddaughter, Anna Harris, served as her grandmother’s maid of honor.
“I think sometimes if it is meant to be then it will happen… even if it takes 64 years!” Harris, a 21-year-old student at Indiana University, tells PEOPLE. “They loved each other when they were in high school and I think they are extremely excited to have reconnected and have gotten that companionship they had.
“It is easy to see when they are together how happy they are. I think that reconnecting with each other is one of the best things that could have happened to them. I don’t think of Jim as replacing my grandpa, he gave me my grandma back.”
The lovebirds aren’t quite sure what it was that brought them back together — they’re just happy they’ve found each other again.
“Fate? Meant to be? I don’t know, but I was always very fond of him,” says Kevorkian. “I hadn’t thought about him for years. I had a lovely life with my husband but I was lonely when he died six years ago. When he started calling me I realized it was a very pleasant kind of a new awakening in life.”
‘We love each other very much,” adds Bowman.