Madeira couple honored for years of commitment to community and each other

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Williamsons
Bob and Mary Williamson of Madeira were one of five Ohio couples honored with the Joined Hearts in Giving Award.

Madeira couple Robert and Mary Reid Williamson were honored at the Ohio Statehouse on May 24 with the 2013 Joined Hearts in Giving Award.  The award honors long-married Ohioans who share a commitment to volunteerism. Eligible couples share a commitment to volunteerism and each other.  To be eligible for the award, couples must have been married at least 40 years and at least one of the spouses must be age 60 or older.  Bob and Mary have been married for 58 years and are active volunteers with Sycamore Senior Center`s Meals on Wheels program. 

The awards ceremony was attended by the award recipients (five couples were honored from across the state), members of the Ohio Department of Aging, the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging and members of the 130th General Assembly. In addition, nine distinguished Golden Buckeyes were inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame.

Learn how you can nominate a deserving Ohio senior for one of these honors.


Joined Hearts in Giving

Robert and Mary Reid Williamson, Madeira
58 years of marriage

Bob and Mary Williamson make things happen as volunteers in the Sycamore Senior Center Meals-on-Wheels program. They are scheduled to deliver meals one day a week, but Bob drops by each of the other four weekdays just to see if his help is needed. Some weeks, Bob and Mary deliver over 50 meals to homebound seniors throughout northeastern Hamilton County. Older adults with limited access to transportation and mobility often are at higher risk for of hunger. Bob and Mary have a mission to help their neighbors remain safe and independent in their homes for as long as possible, and often will change their schedules to accommodate others` needs.

Bob and Mary met on a street corner in Germantown, Pennsylvania, while Bob was out on the town with his best friend. Bob`s best friend whispered to him, "Tell her you are getting married next weekend. She`ll be upset and cry on your shoulder; then you can ask her out on a date." She didn`t end up crying on Bob`s shoulder that night. But they did go out, and eventually got married. They have been married for 58 years and are the proud parents of five children, 17 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. Mary eventually got used to Bob`s sense of humor.

Mary was a stay at home mom when she was raising their brood of five, and began volunteering at the children`s schools, church and local festivals. While Bob was a Cub Scout leader, helped with little league baseball, the Jr. Chamber of Commerce and Demolay, a youth organization dedicated to teaching young men to be better persons and leaders. Bob was also a member of PNI 3 CLASS U.S. Naval reserve for 12 years, and a 20 year member of the American Legion. Once Bob retired from being a traveling salesman, he quickly became one of Sycamore Senior Center`s most valued volunteers.

The Williamsons` generous commitment of service has had an enormous impact on Sycamore Senior Center`s ability to provide over 300 meals a day, all with the help of volunteers. Bob and Mary provide comfort and companionship with each meal delivery. Despite all that they do, they are motivated by the belief that they can do more.

Of his wife, Bob says, "She is very much my co-pilot. We do Meals-on-Wheels once a week. I feel so good doing Meals-on-Wheels. Sometimes you are the only person someone sees all day. Some of these individuals are pretty lonely, so if there`s something I can do for them..."

The two have had the pleasure of driving through most of our country, Caribbean cruises and going to the Ocean City, New Jersey shore, most every summer. They feel their secret to a successful marriage is give and take. "We argue a little, like everyone else," Mary said. To which, Bob replied, "Yes, Dear."

(Source: Ohio Department of Aging)