Never too late to tie the knot

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Photo by Suzanne Pollak
Photo by Suzanne Pollak

Marrying someone you love, whether at age 21 or 81, sure beats being alone, say older folks taking the plunge again.

Joyce Lyman moved into the Ring House, a Charles E. Smith Life Community, in her late 50s as a divorced woman taking care of a parent. They moved into the complex together as that was the only way she could convince her father to move out of his home.


At an oneg Shabbat, she noticed a man grabbing a few chocolate chip cookies and then leaving.

The third Shabbat she observed this, Joyce Lyman decided to take matters into her own hands, literally. She covered the plate of cookies with her hands, looked at this stranger and said, “‘I’m Joyce, would you like a cookie?’” Jim Lyman shyly said yes. Not long after that, they both attended the Ring House’s New Year’s Eve dance.

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A social worker got them dancing, and “we danced all night long,” Joyce Lyman recalled. They were married at Congregation Beth El in Bethesda seven years ago when Joyce Lyman was 63, and Jim Lyman was 86. As for his first marriage, “We had a good marriage of more than 60 years, until she became ill and passed away. I had a happy marriage. Now I am happy to say I am having a happy second time around.” For Joyce Lyman, “I married my first husband who was the love of my youth and had two sons.

Then I married Jim who was my mature love for life. I honestly believe there is a lot to be said for being mature, selecting someone you want to be with and talk with.” Jim Lyman, who worked in newspapers and public affairs, gazed at his wife and said, “I can’t say enough for what Joyce has done for me,” to which she quickly replied, “Hey, it’s a two way street.”


Lucille and Irving Malamut of Leisure World in Silver Spring could have known each other for many years. They were founding members of Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, but they had never met. That changed just a few months after both their spouses passed away in 1981, only a month apart. He was was 69 years old at the time and she was 56, and neither one had marriage on their minds when they attended a wine tasting at their synagogue.

It took a while for them to be officially married, said Lucille Malamut, who goes by “Lucky,” the nickname she was given in college. They spent time together, but it wasn’t until her family embarked on a trip and she wanted to bring her boyfriend along that they considered marriage. Right up to their wedding day, “I told her she was too young for me,” said Irving Malamut, who formerly owned auto supply stores in Washington, D.C., and Maryland.

He confessed to being reluctant to marry a second time. “I don’t know whether I wanted to get married. My first wife had a lot of [health] problems, and I didn’t want to go through that again.

But this woman next to me was so nice,” he said as they sat together on the couch in their Leisure World home. “I was quite lucky to meet this woman. She was a good catch.” Lucky Malamut also questioned whether she was ready to remarry. “My first marriage was good,” she said.

Thirty years later, the couple clearly has no regrets.

They spend their days together, often attending meetings with the Democratic Party of Leisure World, Hadassah, where she is on the board of directors, or with Leisure World friends. They still attend Temple Shalom often and eat dinner out. “It’s better than cooking,” Lucky Malamut said.

She still drives. He stopped at the end of last year, when he turned 100.

But, his wife pointed out, he still has his license. “Being together is so wonderful. I would hate to be alone these 30 years,” Lucky Malamut said. The second time around is different, she explained. “When you get married in your twenties, it’s a different world than when you are in your sixties. I think you are more picky, because you know what to expect.”

“I just think when you have a wonderful partner you are lucky,” whether it’s the first or second marriage, her husband stressed.

To anyone contemplating a late-in-life marriage, Lucky Malamut advised, “Do it. It’s wonderful. There is no advantage to being alone.”

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@SuzannePollak

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