Ken Melotte and Shirley Kielar sit on the front porch of their home in Seymour, shortly after their marriage on June 23, 2017. See Wedding Announcement on P. 11. – Photo by Keith Skenandore
Whoever said that love has no boundaries must have had Ken Melotte and Shirley Kielar in mind.
The two love birds were recently married at the ages of 84 and 83.
Melotte, the older of the two, tied the knot with Kielar on June 23, 2017.
One could say their love for one another has gone full circle.
Both 1951 graduates of Seymour High School, Melotte and Kielar first dated at the school’s 1950 prom.
“He was on the prom court,” Kielar said. “So he asked me to go with him.”
Melotte laughingly responded, “Otherwise she wouldn’t look at me.”
That’s how their relationship is today: full of love, happiness and laughter.
However, shortly after prom, both went their separate ways and they did not stay in touch with one another.
Shirley was happily married to Frank Kielar for 54 years before his passing 12 years ago.
Ken was married to Joan Johnson, the 1955 prom queen, for 56 years up until her passing three and a half years ago.
Kielar is in charge of the class reunions and that is where the flame was rekindled.
“I didn’t see her very often,” Melotte said. “Maybe every five or maybe 10 years before I would see her again.”
They did not attend a lot of reunions so there was no communication.
“I don’t even think I even talked to him,” Keilar said.
Ken replied laughingly, “You were kind of stuck up.”
She took all the papers and information from previous reunions and the forthcoming 64th class reunion which was coming up in August. Melotte didn’t confirm that he would be attending
“He went on his merry way home,” Keilar said.
Melotte kept calling Kielar.
“She was easy to talk with,” he said. “She was the first woman that wasn’t chewing me out all the time.”
He attended the reunion and that is when they really started to connect. They continued to see each other, Shirley traveling to South Carolina and Ken coming to Wisconsin, who had a lot of family here. Kielar knew a lot of his family so it wasn’t difficult for the two to get to know each other.
“We kind of started dating then,” Melotte said. It was about a year later when they began talking marriage.
Kielar said she couldn’t do the traveling and staying with one another thinking she’s been preaching to her grandkids and here I’m living with a guy.
“That didn’t work with me,” she said. “So I decided we better get married.”
A ceremony was being planned in Spartanburg until Keilar’s daughters found out and “Oh no. You’re getting married where we can be there.”
The wedding was moved to Traverse City, Mich., where Melotte rented a place for all of his kids, grandkids and great-grandkids, along with their spouses.
“We decided to move (the wedding) up there,” Kielar said. It was easy for her immediate family to come for the weekend and everybody was happy with the relocation of the wedding.
“It’s nice that they have each other,” said Shirley’s daughter Lisa Heidke. “They’re such a happy, go lucky couple.”
Kielar said she’s been there and done that after her previous 54 years of marriage so there was no way she was thinking of marriage until she said, “I listened to him too long.”
“My friends all love her,” Melotte said.
She introduced him to her friends who all knew him.
“Naturally they all wanted to meet him and give him hell because they didn’t want me moving down there. They wanted me to stay here.”
The end result is now a winter home in South Carolina and a summer home in Wisconsin.
Melotte concluded, “We had a late start but we’re in it for the long haul.”
“He’s making me laugh all the time even when I get mad at him,” Kielar replied.
Congratulations to Ken Melotte and Shirley Kielar who after 67 years finally tied the knot. – Submitted photos