After Suffering Two Strokes, Man Surprises Wife by Serenading Her on 63rd Anniversary

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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.”

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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.”

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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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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking