By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
VENTNOR – According to Mayor Beth Holtzman, the insidious coronavirus plaguing the nation cannot stop love.
The mayor performed a wedding for a longtime city worker and his bride this week in compliance with the 6-foot social distancing rule.
“It was delightful,” Holtzman said. “It shows that although we are going through a difficult time, COVID-19 can’t stop love.”
After seven years cohabitating, lifelong residents John P. (Snake) Conner Sr. and Patty Ferry tied the knot in front of Ventnor City Hall Wednesday, April 22. Conner’s son, daughter, her husband, and Ferry’s best friend attended the ceremony, and Commissioner Lance Landgraf joined the celebration. Conner’s supervisor, Ed Stinson showed up just as the ceremony was ending, the mayor said.
“It was a trip,” said Conner, who has worked in the Utility Department for the last 41 years. “It was eerie standing six feet from the mayor.”
Patty has worked in the banking business for 39 years and currently works as a branch manager for Bank of America in Atlantic City. Because she is considered “high risk” due to a medical condition, the bank said she could stay home.
The couple’s engagement three years ago was no less memorable than their coronavirus wedding. Conner, who is First Vice President of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, received blessings from higher-ups to propose during the organization’s annual dinner held at Greate Bay Country Club.
“We got her on stage with me. She thought she was getting an award, and then I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She said yes, started crying, and we got a standing ovation,” Conner said.
They met when Patty needed work done on her home and for her dad’s estate.
“I was looking for someone to do hardwood floors and my brother said to contact Snake at the Public Works yard. A while later, I needed work done on my dad’s house, and again someone said to call Snake at the Public Works yard,” she said.
The two of them hit it off and have been together ever since. This is her second marriage and his third.
“The third time’s the charm,” she said.
Wednesday’s ceremony was a somewhat impromptu event, and it is a good thing the weather cooperated, Conner said.
“We were going to get married this summer, but with everything that’s going on, we didn’t know how things would play out, so we decided to tie the knot now and have a party in the summer,” he said.
The couple got their marriage license two weeks ago and checked the weather forecast for the best day for their outdoor wedding.
“Every day it was rain, rain, rain,” Conner said. “Then we saw Wednesday was going to be sunny and breezy, so we called Mayor Beth and she cleared her schedule for us. She is a sweetheart.”
Because there were no restaurants open to have a celebratory dinner, the couple worked together cooking up their own wedding meal – shrimp cocktail, filet mignon, baked potato, zucchini and yellow squash and a salad.
“He’s a very good cook,” Patty said.
Of course, there was some bubbly to toast their future lives together.
“We cooked indoors because it was too windy to cook the filet on the grill,” he said. “We said Grace and watched TV. It was a very pleasant evening.”
The couple has been together eight years and they are looking forward to many, many more.
“With me working and her always on the run, we don’t get to spend a lot of quality time together like we are now,” he said. “I figured, if we didn’t kill each other by now, we were meant for each other.”
Holtzman said the ceremony was “fun, humorous and a beautiful memory we will all share for the rest of our lives.”
“It was so weird, very short but very sweet,” Patty said. “Right after it was over, everyone had to leave, and we couldn’t even celebrate with a glass of champagne.”
She said, “God willing,” they are planning a beach party this summer with the hopes of seeing relatives who live in different parts of the country, including Las Vegas and California. “We will be trying to get them together, but with this virus, you don’t know what will happen tomorrow.”
Copyright Mediawize, LLC 2020