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60 years after breaking off their engagement in 1963, couple find each other and tie the knot

Her ex-fiance thought that he wasn't ready for marriage and broke off their engagement in 1963 to pursue his career.

60 years after breaking off their engagement in 1963, couple find each other and tie the knot
Image Source: Getty Images/Westend61

Many of us dealt with annoying ex-partners reaching out after a long time. So, it isn't surprising when Priscilla Matheny deleted the friend request of her former fiance Ed Sneckenberger last year. The 83-year-old told Washington Post that at the time, she thought, "Who does he think he is? I don’t want anything to do with him." Ed had called off their engagement in a letter to her sixty years before. She hadn't spoken to him in a long time. She said, "He broke my heart."

Image Source: Getty Images/ImagesBazaar
Image Source: Getty Images/ImagesBazaar


Matheny met Ed in 1959 at a local church in Hagerstown and they grew up together. Ed, now 85, proposed to Matheny three years after they met and she happily accepted the proposal. He proposed to her while he was a student at West Virginia University, a few hours away from where she worked as a secretary in Hagerstown. They decided to pursue a long-distance relationship, but he eventually withdrew his proposal. Despite visiting each other often, Ed realized that he was not prepared for marriage due to financial struggles. He had worked hard to save money for college tuition and did not feel ready to begin a new life with someone else. Matheny was devastated when she received the letter and sold the engagement ring, deciding to move on.



She soon met her future husband, Wally Matheny, a widower with two young children. They went on to have two more children together, as well as four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Through this time period, Matheny forced herself not to think about her first love, "maybe because it hurt so bad. I was happy with my family and busy with my children," she said. After the breakup with Matheny, Ed was deeply hurt and he focused on his academic pursuits rather than romance. He earned his bachelor's, master and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering through a NASA program at West Virginia University, where he taught for 36 years. In 1968, he married Scottie Hansbrough, an academic who also taught at the university and together, they had three children and five grandchildren.

Image Source: Getty Images/John Slater
Image Source: Getty Images/John Slater


He describes his married life as "very blessed" for 53 years until his wife passed away in October 2021. In his grief, he leaned on his two sisters for support and during one of their nightly phone calls, his younger sister mentioned Priscilla, prompting him to reflect on their past. He realized that he had hurt her more than he intended with his letter. He was adamant about apologizing and went through many channels to reach her. He eventually found himself on the Facebook page of St. Mark's Lutheran Church, where they originally met. He noted that Priscilla Matheny was frequently commenting on blogs, and "I wondered if it was Priscilla Troxell that I knew."

Ed confirmed that the individual posting on the Facebook page was her after conducting a fast web search. He enthusiastically sent her a friend request. She quickly turned it down. Ed was unfazed. He decided to contact the church's administrative assistant and ask her to contact Matheny on his behalf and aid in arranging a meeting. After the idea fell through, he continued sending messages on Facebook. Eventually, Matheny responded and they decided to meet. Ed traveled from Morgantown, West Virginia, to Hagerstown for Easter and on April 16 at around 11 a.m., he met Matheny at a Panera Bread restaurant. He began the talk by sincerely apologizing. Matheny stated that she might accept his olive branch after all these decades.


Ed was enamored with her the instant he laid eyes. He said, "It was just too much for my mind and my heart to handle that she was as beautiful as she was. She's every bit as beautiful now as she was then." Ed was ready to rekindle their romance after their coffee date. He said, "The flame of young love blew up in me. I became obsessed with this lady and the opportunity to do what I didn't do 60 years before." Matheny said, "It was like we had picked up from our engagement day." Ed asked her to marry him again. When Matheny originally denied his proposal, he tried everything he could to regain her confidence in the months that followed. He phoned almost every day and came almost every weekend. "He wore me down" after a few months of dating, Matheny laughed. 

They married on December 7 in St. Mark's Lutheran Church, which holds a particular place in their hearts because it was the site of their first meeting and subsequent rekindling. So far, the newlyweds are enjoying their married life. Their rekindled love has been an unexpected blessing, they both remarked. Ed Said, "We want our flame to burn and grow for the rest of our lives."

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