A Wedding Three Decades in the Making Unites World War II Vet With Sweetheart

A World War II veteran and marries fiance after 30 year engagement.

By Angie Crouch
|  Wednesday, May 8, 2013  |  Updated 11:37 AM PDT
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A WWII Veteran married his fiancée after a 30-year engagement Tuesday. The longtime couple met in 1983, but when

Angie Crouch

A WWII Veteran married his fiancée after a 30-year engagement Tuesday. The longtime couple met in 1983, but when "Captain Jack" Wight became sick, he knew it was finally time to make it official. Angie Crouch reports from West LA.

Shirlene King thought the moment would never come, but after a 30-year courtship, she finally got her wedding day.

She married her sweetheart of three decades, 88-year-old Jack Wright, on Tuesday.

They were wed in the hallway of the oncology department at the West Los Angeles veterans hospital, where a gravely ill Wright is receiving chemotherapy. Doctors, nurses and friends looked on during the hospital's first-ever wedding.

Despite his serious condition, Wright's humor and devotion were evident.

In response to one of the vows -- instead of answering with the traditional “I do” or “I will” -- Wright answered, “You bet your sweet life.”

It was a long time coming for the untraditional couple, and Wright admitted to being “a little teary eyed.”

Making the wedding more unusual is that Wright is believed to be the only living survivor of Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II.

He then went on to become a well-known figure in Marina del Rey -- where he lived on his boat and serenaded locals with his accordion. In the harbor, he went by Captain Jack.

One day in 1983, he met the much younger Shirlene King, who is now 57.

“We were at a hot tub party and I was the only one wearing a bathing suit. He swam over to me and said, ‘Can I kiss you?’ I said no. He swam away, but he never stopped asking.”

When Captain Jack became sick, he knew it was time to make it official with his long-time love.

“I have to undergo several treatments. She’s been by my side every step of the way,” Wright said.

Newlyweds Mr. and Mrs. Jack Wright perhaps prove you’re never too old for a happily ever after.

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