80-year-old lovebirds tie the knot in Templeton

Whirlwind romance leads to marriage for octogenarian lovebirds

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A Templeton couple is proving a whirlwind romance is possible at any age — even for two octogenarians.

Gail Lafferty and Stephen Orco, both 80, married Saturday afternoon at Courtney’s House in Templeton. The wedding — her first and his second — was the culmination of their six-month relationship, which began in October when they met at a senior singles club.

It was Lafferty who made the first move at a luncheon at the Santa Maria Inn. Orco had noticed Lafferty earlier and thought she was “very attractive,” but much too young for him.

“It just came out of my mouth — it wasn’t planned at all,” Lafferty said. “I said as we were leaving, ‘Why don’t you give me a call sometime? Maybe we can go to a movie.’ And he jumped at the chance.”

A movie at the Palm Theatre followed, and the two began taking trips, going to dinners and spending time together.

“He’s not a couch potato,” Lafferty said. “He likes to get out and do things.”

When the two got engaged, it was Orco — a widower for 16 years — who wanted Lafferty to have the wedding she’d never had as a career woman working for the military in Washington, D.C., Colorado and California.

“I’ve had a very long, interesting life,” she said.

Orco, who had served in the Air Force and then worked for the state, felt the time was right to tie the knot.

“I said, ‘We’re not getting any younger,’ ” Orco said. “ ‘My love is very strong for you, and I feel that we should maybe get married.’

About 30 friends turned out to see Orco and Lafferty wed in a small backyard wedding. A group of Lafferty’s old co-workers at Irvine Sensors Corp. came all the way from Costa Mesa to see their friend get married.

Welly Pasion said she remembered when Lafferty called to tell her she was engaged.

“When the time comes, it doesn’t matter if you’re young, old,” Pasion said she told Lafferty. “This is your time.”

David Brodie, who got to know Lafferty through her volunteer work with the Democratic Party in San Luis Obispo County, said Orco is “a real gentleman.”

“I was incredibly happy for Gail,” Brodie said of learning about the relationship. “He seemed such a nice, attentive gentleman.”

Orco and Lafferty plan to go to San Francisco for their honeymoon and will live in his Templeton home. Orco said the two are looking forward to “happy days.”

“He’s just good through and through,” Lafferty said. “He treats me like a queen.”