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10:46 AM Mon, Sept. 24th

Blind date leads to more than a half-century love affair

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br>Prescott residents Gayla and Bob Remp have been married since 1961. Bob has had two careers — one as a police officer and one as a minister in Chino Valley. Gayla was a preschool teacher in California and Prescott.

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br>Prescott residents Gayla and Bob Remp have been married since 1961. Bob has had two careers — one as a police officer and one as a minister in Chino Valley. Gayla was a preschool teacher in California and Prescott.

PRESCOTT - On Christmas Eve 1961, Bob and Gayla Remp tied the knot after meeting in Southern California on a blind date.

As far as Bob's concerned, nothing better ever happened in his life. She is his forever Valentine.

"She's very special,' said Remp, 75, of his wife with whom he raised three children; the couple also has four granddaughters. "She keeps me because I guess she likes me.'

Gayla smiles.

"I have a wonderful background with pre-school children that helped me with raising a husband,' said the 67-year-old retired nursery school teacher. "You have to explain things carefully. It comes in handy.'

After retiring as an Orange County, Calif. police officer in the late 1970s, the Remps moved to Prescott where Gayla found a preschool job. Her husband opted to attend seminary to become a United Methodist minister.

"That surprised no one but him,' Gayla Remp said.

In 1988, the Remps established a church in Chino Valley where they built a tight-knit ministry together over the course of about 15 years.

"People laughed a lot,' the Remps said. "God's got a good sense of humor.'

A heart ailment forced Remp to retire a second time. He had surgery to implant a pacemaker, and then suffered a stroke.

In his recovery, his wife has proved his stalwart cheerleader.

She and their children encouraged the move a year and a half ago to the Granite Gate Senior Living facility where the two have quickly become immersed in that community. Everyday Remp's dexterity, speech and mental acuity improve; part of his therapy is writing and playing on the computer, he and his wife said.

An amateur landscape and still life painter, Remp has framed pieces all through their apartment. His wife said she hopes he will eventually be able to pick up a brush again.

The two keep a busy schedule, regularly going to exercise and taking part in the community entertainment and other social activities.

"He gets along beautifully with women,' his wife boasts. "All the ladies here make over him.'

He winks. Remp then quickly asserts that his wife has nothing to fear. She shrugs.

"If they can win him, they can have him,' she jokes.

For certain, the Remps admit they have had to cope with life's inevitable curve balls. But both agree they wouldn't change a thing about their life together.

"We've had a wonderful, wonderful life,' said Gayla Remp, noting the two still like to just be near each other even if they are doing separate things.

Gayla likes to piece together jigsaw puzzles while her husband surfs the Internet. On a nice day, both like to just enjoy sitting together on their back porch.

Her husband shakes his head affirmatively.

"We've had a lot of fun,' he concurs.

The secret?

"It's her,' Remp said as his wife interjects, "Smart boy.'

"She has been his angel,' said Barbara Faunce, the Granite Gate sales counselor.

"They are always so upbeat. Whatever challenges they face, they do together. They approach their days with such a great attitude. They're such a beautiful couple.'

Follow Nanci Hutson on Twitter @ HutsonNanci

See Sunday's Daily Courier for more local love stories