(4 PM) Longtime Jamestown Couple Ties Knot On Valentine’s Day

After nearly 40 years, Debra Irvine and Richard Gariepy were married during a small ceremony Thursday at Covenant Manor in Jamestown. P-J photo by Eric Zavisnki

Richard Gariepy and Debra Irvine had been waiting for the right moment to get married, and after nearly 40 years together, they figured Valentine’s Day was a perfect time to show their commitment to each other to the world.

Now Richard and Deb Gariepy, the pair met as so many couples have: at a bar through friends. What followed was a long-term romance with what their friends describe as many “ups and downs.” At the age of 63, Richard Gariepy has found himself on dialysis.

After her love’s health scares last summer, Deb Gariepy decided that it was finally time to commit to a wedding, and the gleeful shock of that decision reverberated throughout their groups of friends.

“We’ve been praying a long time for this,” said Jamestown resident Bobbi VanGuilder, who is a friend of them both.

Pastor Don Moore of the Ellington Baptist Church officiated Thursday’s ceremony at the Covenant Manor. He’s known the couple for 12 years and had been encouraging them to make the ultimate romantic step for a long time. He described the union as “meant to be.”

Pastor Don Moore of the Ellington Baptist Church officiated Thursday's ceremony at the Covenant Manor.

“We have been together for so long, we thought it was right,” Richard Gariepy said.

Since 1981, the Gariepy couple has stuck it out through thick and thin just the same. Not much has changed, but the recognition of their love in a ceremony, which was largely organized by Deb Gariepy’s sister, Nickie Ardizzone, felt right this time of year.

“I decided on this day because it’s Valentine’s Day,” Deb Gariepy said.

She said she wanted to show the world what she and her other half could do, and she definitely thinks that anyone can marry no matter the circumstances of age, health or how long the relationship has survived.

“They’re both really nice people,” said Fred Barney, property manager of the Covenant Manor.

As sickness inspired Deb Gariepy to commit to marrying her current husband, marriage vows rang true through example. The couple teared up during their ceremony as “I Swear” played before they exchanged promises and rings.

See Friday’s edition of The Post-Journal for more.