The Benevolent Ball
Sweet Hearts dance the night away for a good cause
(pictured above: Charles Walters and Marian McGainey dressed to the nines for the event.)
Magnificent Seniors Social Club hosted its first official event Saturday – a Valentine’s Day-theme dinner and dance that also fulfilled the nonprofit club’s charitable mission.
About 50 people attended the Sweet Heart Ball at the Hawthorne Inn and Conference Center.
Ticket sales from the event, which featured a buffet-style meal and live deejay, benefitted Hospice and Palliative Care Center of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County.
“I wanted to organize a club where senior citizens could donate,” explained Leo Adams, the club’s president and founder.
The 74-year-old entrepreneur and R.J. Reynolds retiree said he selected Hospice as the beneficiary of the $35-a-plate event because he has experienced the organization’s good works firsthand.
“My wife died in 2000,” explained the father of five, “(and) they were there with us, every step of the way.”
Adams has many fond Valentine’s Day memories of his late wife Jeanette.
“Valentine’s was a very special day for her and I because we got married at a very early age. My wife was 15 years-old when I married her, and I had just turned 18,” he related. “We didn’t have a lot, but we really celebrated, her and I.”
The ball brought back bittersweet memories for many attendees. Gloria McIver said her last Valentine’s Day with her longtime husband William was perhaps her most memorable. McIver said she thought her husband had forgotten to buy her a gift.
“Everywhere I went in the house, he had written on little sticky notes. He had written little love stories all over the house, everywhere he thought I would go,” she said of her husband of 17 years, who passed away suddenly one week later. “…I still have them up. I didn’t take them down.”
That small gesture proved to be far more valuable than anything money could buy, McIver said, and was indicative of the surprise and intrigue that marked their happy union.
“I had a gorgeous marriage. I don’t know whether you can call something perfect or not, but I think my marriage to my husband was perfect,” declared the mother of four. “He was so supportive. My husband was an excellent man and a good provider. I do miss him because he was such a good man.”
Marian McGainey said friendship has been the basis of her relationship with Charles Wilkins, a Reynolds retiree who accompanied her to the ball.
“We’re just very good friends, and we like to travel and do some of the same stuff,” noted McGainey, the retired executive director of an American Red Cross chapter in California. “I think friendship is really the hallmark … to me, that’s so much more important than anything else.”
Jim and Beatrice Truesdale, who have enjoyed nearly five decades of marital bliss, say commitment is one of the keys to making the love – and the relationship – last.
“One thing most people don’t understand, they say marriage is 50/50, but marriage is not that,” said Mrs. Truesdale, a retired AT&T employee. “Marriage is 100 percent. You’ve got to bring 100 percent of yourself into that marriage. There has to be a lot of giving and taking.”
“We’re both churchgoing people,” her husband added. “That has held us close together, too, our faith.”
The remnants of last week’s winter weather kept some would-be attendees away, but Magnificent Seniors vice president and co-founder Lillie Love deemed the Sweet Heart Ball a success nevertheless. She hopes it will help the club attract more members.
“We’re hoping with this event we can get more members,” said Love, a retired nurse. “…We want to do something that was very constructive to be able to help our fellow men in our community.”
For more information about the Magnificent Seniors, visit www.magnificentseniors.com or contact Lillie Love at 336-608-4419.