- Both widowers, Doris Kriks and Carl Kruse’s story is not conventional, but touching nonetheless – and shows how, at times, rivalry can lead to romance
- Their fateful games of – which Kruse conceded Kriks, 96, almost always won – eventually culminated into a relationship, one that was at first unrequited
- That said, after an unsuccessful proposal and several more losses, Kruse, 96, elected for a different strategy – this one involving proposal of a different sort
A pair of Kansas newlyweds have married at the ripe age of 96 – after finding love while shooting pool at their retirement home.
Both widowers, Doris Kriks and Carl Kruse’s story is not conventional, but touching nonetheless – and shows how, at times, rivalry can lead to something romantic.
Their fateful games – which Kruse conceded Kriks almost always won – eventually culminated into a full-on romance, one that was at first unrequited and only felt by the eventual groom.
After an unsuccessful proposal and several more losses, Kruse eventually elected for a different strategy – this one involving proposal of a different sort.
Instead of appealing to his future spouse’s feelings, he took a more utilitarian approach – showing her a bigger unit they could move in to if they tied the knot. The gambit worked, he said, when Kriks saw the room’s sprawling walk-in closet.
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With three previous marriages between the two of them, the pair went on to marry – becoming the country’s oldest newlyweds in the process.
They sat down with CBS Evening News’ Steve Hartman to recall their unlikely story of love at the Good Samaritan Society-Cedar Lake Village senior living community in Olathe.
It began, Kruse recalled, at the facility’s billiards table.
‘She was a really good pool player,’ the self-professed pool shark commented of their early clashes, which began when Kriks moved in about two years ago.
At the time, Kruse considered himself one of the best billiard players in the building, he said – that is, until Kriks moved in and stole his thunder.
‘Yes, I was definitely surprised,’ Kruse told the station of Kriks’ billiard skills, which quickly became evident with each ensuing loss.
‘She’s a hustler,’ the widow went on to add – while a visibly content Kriks sniped: ‘It’s a good feeling, to beat men.’
The new couple proceeded to share a hearty laugh, before revealing how their rivalry, within a year, led to something more.
Kruse, a retired chemistry professor, recalled how with each game, both he and Kriks, a former bookkeeper, realized they were more excited to see each other rather than face off on the felt.
Soon, they started getting together outside of their games of pool, after realizing they both had another shared interest – music.
Kruse, who had been married once before and lost his wife to pancreatic cancer in 2010, plays violin, and Kriks, who lost a spouse to cancer and had been married twice before she moved to Cedar Lake, is a pianist.
The duo quickly decided to play music together, yielding duets that regularly warmed other residents ears.
As this was happening, the pair warmed up to each other as well – leading Kruse to propose and try his hand at another relationship.
However, Kriks responded with a resolute ‘no’ – spurring the next stage of their whirlwind journey.
‘I wasn’t looking for a man,’ Kriks explained Friday, seated next to her beloved.
Kruse, meanwhile, commented on how despite the rejection, he felt he still had a chance, telling Hartman: ‘I thought that the way she said, it was not that it will never be.’
That stubbornness – along with some quick-thinking on how to better appeal to his future flame – soon paid off, but only after he showed her the larger apartment he had in mind where they could live.
The kicker, though, was the unit’s walk-in closet.
‘I was like, “Oh, this is pretty nice,”‘ Kriks recalled of the room on the second floor where they now live. ‘Then he showed me the walk-in closet.’
Her eyes bright, she recalled: ‘I thought, “This could work.”’
She told Hartman how she told her now-husband ‘yes’ on the spot – before showing off the new storage space to the reporter.
‘He told me he was dedicated to making this a happy marriage,’ Kriks said a few weeks after their ceremony at the assisted living facility. ‘It warms my heart.’
On its website, the facility touts how it offers inhabitants the ‘benefits of a personalized lifestyle combined with the security of community living’ – things that allowed this relationship to flower.
After the ceremony, the pair enjoyed a nice dinner with their family and friends, they said.
There, family and friends were able to ask the couple questions.
‘They asked if Carl had served in the Army, and where we are going on our honeymoon,’ Kriks – now Kriks-Kruse – recalled.
‘I said “Our new apartment.”‘