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Love is sweet the second time around

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 3:21 a.m. HST, Aug 18, 2013

SUMTER, S.C. » This love story begins with chemo­therapy, rather than with the usual moonlight and roses.

And, it recently culminated when Helen Mitchell and Herbert Hightower were married last month at Tuomey Chapel.

"God had a hand in it," Mitchell said. "He showed me his spirit. When God shows you something, you can believe it."

The two met while their spouses were in treatment for cancer at Tuomey Regional Medical Center. Mitchell's husband even became golf buddies with Hightower. He died Dec. 20, 2006, and Hightower's wife died June 11, 2011.


The Star-Advertiser's Sunday "Celebrations" page recognizes the newly wed and those whose marriages have stood the test of time.


Couples married in the past six months may submit a free wedding announcement. Forms are available at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser at Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-210, and online at

Submit a completed form along with a photocopy, PDF file or digital photo of your official marriage certificate (a clear smartphone photo is acceptable). Wedding photos are optional and will not be returned.

Email or call Nancy Arcayna at 529-4808.


Couples celebrating 25th, 50th or 75th wedding anniversaries are invited to share their news in a free announcement as well. We welcome both a current photograph of the couple and a wedding photo. Photos are optional and will not be returned.

Forms are available at the same address and website above. Email or call 529-4747.

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For a paid customized wedding or anniversary notice, call 529-4700 or email

It was a while before they met again at the Shaw Air Force Base Exchange.

"She is attractive," Hightower said. "We exchanged pleasantries. I talked about going to see my daughter in Charlotte … and she said she wanted to see her daughter in Fort Mill."

He provided the ride, and come January 2012 he was asking Mitchell to kara­oke.

Hightower proposed on one knee in her kitchen at a Thanksgiving party.

"It was a joyful moment," Mitchell said. "He's a spontaneous man."

Between the two of them they had 90 years of marriage to their credit, said Stewart Schnur of Plaza Church of Christ, who provided their premarital counseling and served as wedding officiant.

"For couples in their 70s, it's about communicating with their children and reassuring them that you are not taking the place of their mother or father," he said. "I also — and this is not something I normally do during pre-marriage counseling — I talk to them about making sure their wills are in order and talking to their children to help relieve any concerns they may have about material being passed on."

Hightower is 72 and Mitchell is 68.

"When you're a senior citizen it's quite different," Mitchell said. "You're established. You know what love is. You trust it and look forward to it the second time around."

Schnur performed the ceremony from his wheelchair, as he'd recently had his left knee replaced.

"The reason for the date is it's Herbert Hightower's father's 100th birthday," Schnur said. "Otherwise, we'd wait a couple of weeks, so I could be standing up."

"I'm happy that he's happy," said Hightower's daughter Danielle. "It's a good day for him."

Mitchell's son shared similar thoughts.

"I am very happy for my mother," Reginald Mitchell said.

When asked who would give the bride away, he and his sister, Dione Mitchell Perry, said "we do." Danielle Hightower walked her father in and "gave him away."

The second-time newlyweds had words of wisdom to share.

"Just be good to her," Hightower said.

"Enjoy growing old together," Mitchell said.

--Jade Anderson / Associated Press

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Celebrations: Weddings and Anniversaries

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