ANTIOCH -- True love knows no age.

So, it came as no surprise when Bob Graves smiled proudly Friday as he and his bride, Mira, walked down the aisle hand-in-hand -- 72 years after marrying the first time.

The longtime lovebirds, who moved from Martinez to the Quail Lodge Retirement Community a month ago, renewed their vows in front of their new peers and family.

Bob, 93, and Mira, 90, tied the knot on a whim during a trip to Reno on Jan. 17, 1942, but they never had a formal religious ceremony.

So on this Valentine's Day, Mira wore a white wedding dress with a long, flowing train, and a tiara. Bob wore a tuxedo for the first time in his life.

"You look cute," Mira told Bob, sneaking a quick kiss, just minutes before the ceremony.

Their exchange of vows Friday morning made many of the residents in attendance tear up.

When asked if he would take Mira to be his wife, Bob said: "I will, I have ... and I will forever."

Bob and Mira's love story started in 1941. He was working at Western Electric Co., and became smitten with a junior college student and waitress named Mira at the San Mateo boardinghouse where he lived and ate meals.

"As soon as I saw her, I knew she was the one," Bob said.

Bob took Mira out on their first date and asked her to marry him. She said yes, then no because her parents wouldn't approve since she was too young.

Within weeks, the couple drove to Reno with their friends who were eloping. At the last minute Bob and Mira decided they would elope as well. Bob bought a $10 ring.


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"It was during wartime. People didn't have fancy weddings," Mira said.

Bob was shipped out overseas to fight in the Army during World War II shortly after they tied the knot, and Mira found out that she was pregnant with their first son.

While he was overseas for three-and-a-half years, the couple wrote lots of love letters. When he came back, they had a family to raise.

"We're just simple folk," Mira said.

Quail Lodge staff recently picked the couple to be the Valentine's Day king and queen for a day at the complex. When they wanted to use their wedding photo, the couple explained they didn't have one.

"We were all just in disbelief," said Jenifer Noble, Quail Lodge activities director.

From there, Quail Lodge staff and others in the community played the role of Cupid, donating the accouterments for a wedding.

"I think the miracle is that there are so many people and families that are splitting apart, it's amazing that they have remained so devoted," said Susanne Larson of His and Hers Formal Wear in Brentwood.

Larson, along with many of the Quail Lodge residents, were a bit teary-eyed during the ceremony.

"They're just darling people. What a blessing they are to each other," said Grace Barry during the reception.

The post-wedding soiree included a ride around the block in a Quail Lodge bus, with a sign that read "Just Married," a Champagne toast from sons Gary and Grant, and a wedding cake.

And wedding pictures.

"They are just adorable, and their love is so sincere," Noble said.

The couple still holds hands when walking around Quail Lodge (doctor's order for balance, Bob said), kiss each other in public, and insist on being on the same team for games.

When asked what is the key to staying together so long, Bob said: "Yes, dear. Yes, dear."

Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.