Garner married his wife in 1950, and the two were together for 62 years.
Their marriages produced several children.
“We were both happily married,” Shaw-Bell said. “If things hadn’t have happened like they did, we wouldn’t have our children.”
“We had a good life,” Garner said of his marriage.
Shaw-Bell’s daughter, Cheryl, made plans to throw a surprise 85th birthday for her mother earlier this year.
Invitations were sent out to friends and family members, including Shaw-Bell herself, as well as Garner.
A quick search on the Internet by Shaw-Bell’s daughters gave them his address in Colorado.
“When I got that invitation, I called the number on it,” Garner said. “It was probably no less than 15 minutes after I had opened the invitation.”
Garner, who was nursing his wife in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, was unable to attend. Shortly after, his wife passed away.
“I think the flame was always there,” Shaw-Bell said of her childhood relationship with Garner, “but there was really nothing we could do about it back then.”
“I didn’t really take much notice of her when we were younger. I always just considered her a playmate,” Garner said. “It wasn’t until we were teenagers and I came down to visit when I was in the service that I really took notice of her.”
With Shaw-Bell’s information finally in hand, the two began spending more time together this year, making the decision to wed a few months ago with the full support of their families.
“As a very young child, my grandmother was in love with the neighbor boy. Eighty years later, several wars, widowed twice, three kids, a ton of grandkids and great grandkids, floods, fires and tornadoes later, Grandmother is finally marrying the neighbor boy who always appeared with the right intentions at the wrong time,” Shaw-Bell’s granddaughter, Celeste Green Leinberger, wrote on Facebook earlier this month.
The newlyweds plan to reside in Aledo, while Garner is in the stages of selling his home in Colorado to live in Texas once again.