Joe and Sharon Korst have been married for 63 years. The North Carolina couple has experienced many highs and lows in that time, and Joe made a habit of singing Kenny Rogers’ “All That You Could Be” to his wife on their anniversary.
That is “their” song, and Joe has serenaded Sharon with it for 12 years — but this year, it almost didn’t happen.
In fact, there could have been no 63rd anniversary at all for the couple.
Joe experienced a stroke in June, and then he had another in July. The Korsts’ anniversary is in August, but because of his strokes, he’d forgotten “their song.”
But Theresa Kostrzewa, Joe and Sharon’s daughter, remembered that the song was important to her parents and knew what it would mean if Joe could continue his tradition.
“He’s probably sung that song 150 times,” Kostrzewa told NBC’s “Today” show.
So she persuaded Joe’s speech therapist to help him pull it off. She filmed the result, and it was shared by WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh, where Joe was a patient.
“Joe and Sharon celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary this past week,” the group posted. “After recently having two strokes, Joe, one of our WakeMed rehab patients, was unable to remember the words to their song: ‘All That You Could Be’ by Kenny Rogers.
“Joe has been practicing this song in speech therapy so that he could surprise his wife by singing it to her on their anniversary.
“Happy Anniversary, Joe and Sharon!”
The video shows Joe crooning along with his wife while holding her hand. He manages to sing part of their special song and punctuates the performance with a kiss and an “I love you.”
“When we sent the video of them singing, it was awesome for everybody,” Kostrzewa said. “It was so sweet.”
According to his daughter, Joe’s advice for a long and happy marriage is to “Love the hell out of your wife.”
“He tells people, ‘I’m 63 years in love,'” Kostrzewa said. “He just has always unfailingly loved my mom and lets everybody know it and everybody see it.”
“My mom knows she’s been blessed to have Joe Korst love her her entire life. To have him be able to sing that gave her a feeling that everything’s going to be OK, no matter what happens, we’ve got this.”
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