How many couples have the unique distinction of being wed on a putting green?
Well, not really, but a Homer City couple did a repeat performance of the ceremony last Saturday.
Bill and Maxine Bartlebaugh were celebrating their golden wedding anniversary and they opted to renew their vows on the practice green just off the sprawling porch at Oakwood Golf Club in Lake Wales, Fla.
More than 130 witnesses surrounded the front half of the large green as former Indiana County resident Jerry Clawson officiated at the event.
Clawson, who retired as superintendent of the Blairsville-Saltsburg School District, is a registered notary public in Polk County and had wed another couple several years ago.
Standing alongside the happy couple were their son, Bill, and his wife, Bridget, and their children Riley, Jimmy and Terry, of Huntingtown, Md., and daughter Kelly and her husband, Bruce Brown, of Baltimore.
Standing next to Bill was his brother, Dave, of Waterloo, Iowa, and Dave’s fiancee, Julie Nguyen, of San Jose, Calif.
Meanwhile, the guests formed a semicircle at the green. Most of those in attendance are residents of Tower Lakes.
The ceremony was both beautiful and touching, especially when Maxine repeated her vows and expressed her love for her husband, who has been diagnosed with cancer. There was not a dry in the crowd.
“We are so grateful that our friends were here to celebrate with us, and we thank them for joining us on this special day,” said Maxine.
Indiana residents Bob and Kathy King, who are vacationing in Florida, drove from Bonita Springs for the ceremony.
Bill added, “It was just fantastic — overwhelming, and we enjoyed every minute.”
An Indiana native, Bill met Maxine, who is from Jones Mills, when they were both students at IUP.
They have been residents of Homer City since 1965, where Bill retired as a teacher in the Homer-Center School District and Maxine operated a painting business, Bartlebaugh Painting.
Since 2006 the Bartlebaughs have been wintering at Tower Lakes.
“Thank goodness the rain stopped,” said Maxine, as a few hours prior to the ceremony a typical Florida downpour saturated the area.
They both agreed that their 50th was truly golden.
o o o
Friday we had guests from Saltsburg as Sam and Virginia Brink stopped for the day. With them were Virginia’s daughter, Debbie Wright and her friend Jerry Gasperini, both retired teachers from Apollo-Ridge and Blairsville-Saltsburg, respectively.
Sam was a boyhood friend from the ‘Burg and lived in the house on Route 286 near the infamous “Brink’s Curve.”