Engaged couple meets at Butler County care center; ‘there is a reason we are together’

They are planning ‘traditional wedding’ Oct. 21 at Majestic Care of Fairfield.

FAIRFIELD — Two residents of Majestic Care of Fairfield are showing there is no age limit on love.

Jeffrey Riley, 65 and Elaine Phelps, 66, who met at Majestic Care less than one year ago, are set to get married Oct. 21. It will be Riley’s third marriage and second for Phelps.

“It feels good to get an opportunity to feel true love, real love,” she said.

Riley, of Hamilton, said he lived in an apartment with his son. Then, after the monthly rent rose from $700 to $1,100, they were evicted and found themselves homeless. He lived at Transitional Living in Hamilton and suffered from depression and anxiety, he said.

He was transferred to Good Samaritan Hospital where he received shock therapy to bring back his lost memory. After he recovered, he was released to Majestic Care.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Phelps, a native of Somerset, Ky., said when she had colon surgery, she suffered nerve damage that reduced the use of her right leg. She has lived at Majestic Care for about two years.

They both had to hit “rock bottom” to understand what’s important in life, she said.

They lived down the hall from each other and would talk in passing. Then the conversations lengthened until Phelps gave Riley her phone number. When asked why she gave out her phone number, Phelps said she enjoyed his company and “he was hot.”

Then they started text messaging.

“We fell in life and as time went on, we fell in love,” he said. “We are meant for each other.”

Phelps said she got married in 1981, but divorced 24 years later. That’s when she moved to Ohio.

Riley got married when he was 20, had a son, but divorced seven years later. He remarried and he and his wife separated after seven years. She moved to West Virginia and Tennessee and the divorce recently was finalized after a 24-year separation.

While the staff at Majestic is planning the wedding, Phelps said she wanted to wear blue jeans and carry a Bible. The first time she got married, the ceremony was held in her preacher’s home, she said.

But now they’re embracing what Riley called “a traditional wedding” with “all the fixings and fanfare.”

Phelps said she’s excited about the upcoming wedding.

“There is a reason we are together,” she said. “God gave me another chance to live and be happy.”