By Sean Barron
When a person suffers a severe fall, it normally leads to a hospital stay, short- or long-term rehabilitation and recovery.
Such an unfortunate circumstance, however, doesn’t often lead to marriage.
But that’s exactly what happened with Calvin Banse and Blenda Dearing.
“I couldn’t get up, so I hollered at her through the wall, and she rescued me,” Banse, 84, said recently from his room at Meridian Arms Living Center, 650 S. Meridian Road, where’s he’s been recovering. “She called the paramedics; I could hardly move, and they took me to the hospital.”
When the incident occurred in July, Banse and Dearing lived next door to each other in an Austintown apartment complex.
Dearing intervened after Banse slipped on a bathroom towel and fell, then stayed by his side throughout his time at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, as well as during two back operations and recovery.
During that time the two became closer, which resulted in a date at the movies and, ultimately, led to the couple’s getting married during a 2 p.m. ceremony Dec. 17 at the facility.
This was Banse’s first marriage, Dearing’s third, but to hear him tell it, you might think that he’s a seasoned veteran.
“She suggested we ought to get married, and I said, ‘Let’s,’” he added.
Serving as best man was David Rupert of Masury, a co-worker and 60-year friend of Banse’s.
After the accident Banse underwent two back operations, the first of which resulted in an infection from a pump, he explained, adding that it’s difficult to walk or stand for more than a few minutes at a time. As a result, the couple’s honeymoon plans are on hold until spring, at which time they plan to visit Arizona, New Mexico or her native West Virginia, said Dearing, who’s been single since 1988 and has one daughter, Rana Spillman of Austintown.
One commonality the two have is a love for railroads and trains.
Banse, who lived 25 years in Sharon, Pa., and retired after 38 years as an Erie Railroad operator, also is an expert on model-train building, for which he’s won state and national awards. Other accomplishments include serving as a renowned B&O Railroad historian and vice president of the Youngstown Model Railroad Club.
Dearing, a Marlinton, W. Va., native, said the couple may visit nearby Cass, W. Va., this spring, home to the Cass Scenic Railroad, an 11-mile state-owned heritage railroad.
Dearing, who worked 12 years for Packard Electric and retired after having managed several janitorial companies, said she remembers plans being made from her grandparents’ home to construct the scenic railroad. Her grandfather was a railroad engineer, Dearing said.
Beyond his interest in railroads, Banse’s general personality endears Dearing to him, she continued.
“Calvin was always pretty shy, but a pretty down-to-earth guy,” she added.
So, is there any age-old secret to a marriage enjoying health, success and longevity? It’s not that hard, says Dearing.
“Accept each other, despite your differences,” she advises. “I think if couples don’t have some level of bonding, friendship at first, they’re missing out on a lot.”