Frank Phillips receives a visit from wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary March 31. Social distancing prevented the two from being any closer that day. (Submitted photo)

Couple celebrates 61st anniversary through Vancouver Island seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

Neither social distancing, nor the COVID-19 pandemic could keep a couple on Vancouver Island from celebrating their 61st wedding anniversary this week.

Frank Phillips, former managing editor of the Nanaimo Daily Free Press and Vancouver Island Real Estate Board president, currently resides at Nanaimo Seniors Village, in Nanaimo, B.C., due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and vascular dementia, according to daughter Linda Roden. Because of measures aimed at preventing spread of coronavirus, wife Rena and he weren’t able to celebrate their March 31 anniversary together, but did visit with a window and wall providing separation.

The couple met in Scotland in 1958 and emigrated to Canada in 1978, also on March 31, and while Rena said celebrating their anniversary with social distancing was difficult, it was nice to see her husband on their special day. The two have shared so much together, she said.

“Frank likes to touch and hug me and I like the same … it was just that connection, that smile. I felt completely connected to him and I’ve always felt that way,” Rena told the News Bulletin. “He tells me and tells everybody, the minute he saw me, he fell in love and that was it.”

With B.C. health officials recommending people stay home, Roden said it has been difficult on her parents, as her mother is used to visiting her father daily. Her mother does call daily to check in on her father, however, as he doesn’t know how to operate a phone any longer, or use mobile phone apps such as FaceTime.

Rena said she isn’t sure when her next visit will take place.

“I can’t go again unless I can get in to be with him,” said Rena. “It’s too painful.”

Despite the fact her parents aren’t visiting on a regular basis, Roden said she is pleased with the care her father is receiving at Nanaimo Seniors Village.

“They’re wonderful with him, said Roden. “They’re being very kind to him and very caring. We don’t have a concern that way at all. I know there’s been a lot of bad publicity over the [past] year with Nanaimo Seniors [Village] and we’ve seen changes, but the staff that work there are exceptional, so that’s not an issue.”

RELATED: Measures taken at care homes in light of COVID-19

RELATED: New COVID-19 cases in B.C., but 57% have recovered



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Telegraph Cove Resort will open June 1 to self-contained campers only

Washrooms, showers and all other amenities will remain closed for now

Hardy Bay Seniors’ Centre doubling down to build community during COVID-19

The volunteer-run group is cooking meals and checking in on isolated seniors

Three weekly direct flights from Port Hardy to Vancouver starting June 1

Direct between Bella Bella and Vancouver not resuming at this time

UPDATE: Local taxi company applying to opertate north island bus route

Waivin’ Flags Taxi wants to operate Route 5 between Cambpell River and Port Hardy

Change in service: Port Hardy is switching from bi-weekly garbage pick up to weekly schedule

The cost for the weekly garbage pick up service is an additional $30.12 annually.

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

COVID-19 cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a B.C. mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Yukon ready to lift COVID travel restrictions with B.C. in July: premier

Premier Sandy Silver says the territory’s health-care system can cope with the virus.

Most Read