Grace Village Retirement Community residents Quentin Matthes and Sharon Koser got engaged on Valentine’s Day today. They were reunited in October at the retirement community after not seeing each other for 54 years. Pictured is Matthes proposing to Koser in his apartment. Photo by Jennifer Peryam, Times-Union
Grace Village Retirement Community residents Quentin Matthes and Sharon Koser got engaged on Valentine’s Day today. They were reunited in October at the retirement community after not seeing each other for 54 years. Pictured is Matthes proposing to Koser in his apartment. Photo by Jennifer Peryam, Times-Union
WINONA LAKE – Grace Village Retirement Community residents Quentin Matthes and Sharon Koser went on their first and only date as youth 54 years ago in December 1958.
After going their separate ways, getting married to other people and having children over the years, they reunited at Grace Village, where they are residents, in October.
Matthes, 77, proposed at his Grace Village apartment to Koser, 68, on Valentine’s Day today.
They plan to wed in July at the chapel at Grace Village where they attend church.
Matthes has been a Grace Village resident for the past 7-1/2 years.
Koser moved in Oct. 4 from Ohio to Robin Hood Homes at Grace Village where she lives in a condo. After they get married, Quentin will live with Koser in her condo.
Her relatives who live in Winona Lake encouraged her to move closer to them after the death of her first husband, Gene.
Quentin and Koser’s love story began in 1958 when he was her assistant pastor and youth and music director at their church, Woodville Grace Brethren Church, in Mansfield, Ohio, where they both attended as youth.
First And Only Date
Koser was 14 at the time and Quentin was 23, a seminary student at Grace Theology Seminary in Winona Lake.
He said he did not know she was 14, but thought she was 16 or 17. She said she didn’t realize the nine-year age difference between she and Matthes.
“I thought she was attractive and seemed more mature than the other kids in the youth group,” Matthes said.
Koser said since she was only 14 she had to get her parent’s permission to go on a date with Matthes.
Her parents agreed to allow their daughter to go on the date since they knew his parents and he was an assistant pastor.
“I thought he was so handsome and sharp, a nice dresser and a Godly man so I was impressed,” Koser said.
Their first and only date as youth was in Mansfield, Ohio, when Matthes came home to Ohio on Christmas break to attend a basketball game at Koser’s high school with her.
After the game, they were in his car and he asked Koser how old she was and she told him she was 14, soon to be 15 but that was in nine months.
“Right away after she told me she was 14 I knew in my mind dating a 14-year-old when I was 23 was not a proper thing,” Matthes said.
“I didn’t want to rob the cradle,” he joked.
After they decided to not date due to the age gap, they went their separate ways.
Going Separate Ways
Matthes took seminary classes at Grace from 1957 to 1960 and married his first wife, Norma, in August 1961 and they had two children. He pastored in churches in Ohio, Minnesota, Tennessee and Fort Wayne. He retired from Discover Card in November 2003.
Koser attended Grace College’s pre-nursing program in 1962. Her father was superintendent of building and grounds at Grace College. Her sister and mother both graduated in 1968 from Grace College.
He and his former wife moved into Grace Village 7-1/2 years ago and she died in May 2008.
Koser married her first husband, Gene, in May 1965.
She lived in Ohio with Gene and retired in 2000 to Florida. After Gene got sick, they moved back to Ohio to be closer to family in June 2009. Gene died in October 2009.
Reuniting
When Koser moved into Grace Village in October she had no idea Matthes lived in the retirement community, and he did not know she had moved there.
Matthes’ friend and neighbor, Roy Snyder, informed Matthes and Koser that they both lived at Grace Village. They both excitedly remembered the date 54 years ago.
They started emailing and talking on the phone.
The beginning of December, Matthes and Koser had a date at the Christmas dinner at Grace Village. They then had a date listening to the Chain-O-Lakes Barbershop Choir at Grace Village that same evening.
From that date on they spent hours talking on the phone. At the end of December, they had a date to go to the worship service at Grace Chapel.
On Dec. 31, they had supper with two of Koser’s sons and two grandsons, then celebrated the end of the year and the new year together.
In January, Koser and Matthes went to Matthes’ grandson’s basketball game at Lakeland Christian Academy and met with Quentin’s son’s family. They also went to a Grace College basketball game together that month.
Matthes has two children and four grandchildren, and Koser has five children and 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Matthes asked Koser’s family if they would support him courting her and they agreed that would be fine.
Marriage
Matthes and Koser talked about marriage and spending their future together, volunteering at Grace Village and traveling to visit family as husband and wife.
They both said they want to put God at the center of their marriage. They thank God for bringing them back into each other’s lives after all these years.
“We are both head over heels in love and see that and each other as a gift from God,” Matthes said.
They look forward to sharing their lives together being married.