Worth Repeating–The Fountains at Washington House

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By Christy Brudin

Marv and Phyllis Ribyat have been married several times. Each time, they have stood hand-in-hand and dedicated their lives to each other – again. Married 67 years ago, the Ribyats have renewed their vows on three different occasions.

Marv and Phyllis Ribyat, married 67 years, renewed their wedding vows along with three other couples during a ceremony at The Fountains at Washington House.

Marv and Phyllis Ribyat, married 67 years, renewed their wedding vows along with three other couples during a ceremony at The Fountains at Washington House.

Most recently, the Ribyats renewed their wedding vows during a ceremony at their retirement community, The Fountains at Washington House. The Fountains is a retirement community featuring Independent Living, Assisted Living and Rehabilitation/ Skilled Nursing in Alexandria, Va., which offers residents a range of living options to meet their care needs and lifestyle choices.

The Ribyats originally met when they were young children. “Phyllis would come to Syracuse, where I lived, to visit relatives, who were friends of our family,” Marv recalled.

After serving in the Army, Marv returned home and reunited with Phyllis, who was staying with friends while mourning the loss of her mother. The two old friends began a new romance. “I came home on Valentine’s Day, and we were married on December 29, 1946, in Toronto, where Phyllis is from,” Marv said.

The Ribyats went on to have two children. Marv worked for several different furniture stores over the years, while Phyllis cared for the children. “We were never big money makers, but we managed everything carefully, so that we could enjoy retirement,” said Marv.

After Marv retired in 1984, the couple moved to Florida, where they lived for almost 24 years. Their home in Florida became a home base for their national and international travels. “We went on more than 20 cruises and 18 tours. We went all over Europe and the Caribbean, and to most of the U.S.,” said Marv.

After a hurricane destroyed their condo in Florida, the Ribyats began looking for a retirement community closer to their children, who both live in the Washington, D.C. metro area. When they found The Fountains at Washington House, they knew they had found their new home.

The Ribyats have never regretted their decision. “It’s been five years now since we moved, and we’re so happy here,” said Phyllis.

Marv added, “Everyone knows everyone here, and it’s really very pleasant. There are a lot of activities and plenty of entertainment options. It is a very happy place to be.”

Marv certainly makes the most of the long list of activities offered at The Fountains. He participates in a painting class and a writing class, teaches cribbage, belongs to the garden club, writes for the monthly paper, serves as a representative on the Resident Council, and acts as the mascot for his wife’s chapter of the Red Hat Society.

Despite their busy schedules, Marv always makes time for Phyllis – and vice versa. “We’ve really had a good life – a close life,” he said. “I’ve just followed my father’s advice: listen, talk and support.”

During some of their many cruises, the Ribyats had already renewed their vows twice. However, when the opportunity came to rededicate themselves to each other once again, they didn’t hesitate.

On July 10, 2013, Marv and Phyllis joined Mr. and Mrs. Milton Tomecek (50 years), Mr. and Mrs. Bill Keil (55 years), and Mr. and Mrs. Dan Schilling (65 years) for a vow renewal ceremony in front of friends, families and neighbors. Staff members and residents alike were inspired by the couples, who are living proof that finding life-long love is possible.

The Ribyats are both grateful for the many good years they have already shared as a couple. They are also happy to be “newlyweds” once again. Some things are worth repeating, and as far as the Ribyats are concerned, a good marriage is one of them.

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