Lionel and Victoria Phillips have been married for 42 years, but they’ve loved each other longer than that.
They met in Belize, where they were born and raised. Victoria was 6 and Lionel was 7. When Lionel was in his 20s, he moved to New York, leaving Victoria behind.
“He broke my heart when he went to New York and didn’t marry me,” said Victoria.
Lionel thought she would ask him to get married during one of their phone conversations.
Years passed. Lionel and Victoria saw other people but never forgot each other.
Years later, Victoria moved to New York. They got married in their early 40s.
Now in their 80s, they live at the Parklands Nursing Center in Gainesville.
“He is very particular about her with everything. Her clothes, her hair,” said Emma Melendez, their nurse.
They’ve lived at Parklands Nursing Center for two years. While they don’t have any children, they said they’re thankful they can call those they live with in the nursing home family.