TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A World War II veteran, who is the last surviving member of Company B from Cohoes, is celebrating a special milestone — marriage to his wife of 77 years.
While Wilfred Mailloux looked back on the memories of the last 77 years, he couldn’t help but shower his wife with adoration. “Is that you?” Mailloux exclaimed. “Oh, wow you look beautiful.”
Seventy-seven years is an entire lifetime for many. For Wilfred and his wife Jean Spiak-Mailloux, it’s been a marriage filled with love and four children. “I should have married you earlier,” Mailloux said. “I love this girl, and I always will love her.”
The devotion he shows his beautiful bride also runs deep for his country. Mailloux is a war hero, serving with the U.S. Army for 5.5 years — almost all of World War II. Before he would cross paths with the love of his life, he was seriously wounded in the Battle of Saipan.
“Twenty-one years old, five-and-a-half months in the hospital,” Mailloux recalled. “I got hurt real bad. But I had friends, and friends helped me out a lot. They carried me to safety. I was knocked out. I was stabbed.”
It’s still a painful memory to this day.
“Nurses took care of me. I couldn’t walk. My left leg was all strapped up. They took care of me. They would push me around…I was lucky,” he said.
And that luck never ran out, even when he returned home in 1945. “Well, I was lonesome,” Mailloux explained. “When I saw her in Chatham, that made my life easier.”
Mailloux spotted the woman who would become his future wife after he had joined the bugle drum corp.
He said, “I happened to look over to the P&A drum girls, and I said, ‘Wow! Who is that?'”
Spiak-Mailloux added, “And that’s where it started. July, the 28th, 1946.”
With their whole life ahead of them, they walked down the aisle.
Mailloux added, “She asked me to marry her.” His wife, quick to respond, said, “I doubt it. He likes to stretch things a little.”
It’s that charm and humor that lends itself to 77 years of wedded bliss. “If you don’t have a sense of humor, you’re gonna have a dull life. Cause you’ll be going against everybody,” said Mailloux.
“You have your ups and downs, but doesn’t seem to be possible, it’s been that long. It’s a lot of years,” his wife added.
A lot of years in which they’ve always had each other to help heal unseen wounds, celebrate the highs, and grieve the losses. “I loved my buddies ’til they started passing away, and I still had her. That’s what counted. I was a lucky guy,” Mailloux reminisced
Lucky to have and to hold, and always be together — until recently.
“They became ill about a year ago. My mother had to be placed in a nursing home. My father had to live with me for a year. That was very difficult for them,” his daughter, Maryjean Valigorsky, told NEWS10.
“Now the shoe is on the other foot. All the years they took care of us, now we are in a position where we take care of them,” added Bob Mailloux, his oldest son.
With a little luck and a lot of family support, the two were reunited two months ago at the Eddy Heritage House in Troy, in time to celebrate July 28!
“They go through depression. They go through war; they go through a bad time after the war. They were rigid,” Bob explained.
“I hope she loves me as much as I love her,” Mailloux said as he looked at his wife adoringly.
Their love even stronger 77 years later, with their commitment captured, year after year.