Mary Dallas

Photo contributed

Mary Tuminello and Dallas Curry’s love story began at Heritage Woods in Watseka.

“Who would have ever thought at an assisted living center of all places I’d find my soulmate.” That’s what Mary Tuminello had to say about the person she’d spent nearly the last five years of her life with.

Dallas Curry and Mary met at the Heritage Woods Assisted Living Center in Watseka, but only after following each other around for a large portion of their lives.

“We’d been following each other for 40 years,” said Mary. “I worked at a country club and he lived a couple of miles away and used to go to that same country club to golf. Then, I moved to Oak Forrest and my daughter in law bought a house. Well, this house turned out to be Dallas’ mother’s house and I was renting it.”

Another strange realization came after Mary found out that Dallas lived in Kankakee around the same time she lived in Watseka. She then realized she lived right down the street from his best friends.

“We followed each other around all of this time. For forty years. It’s crazy,” Mary said.

When Dallas and Mary finally did meet, she said it could not have come at a more crucial point in her life. They both moved into Heritage Woods in June of 2016. When she first arrived, Mary said she would spend her time sitting outside under the gazebo and that is where the pair’s first encounter took place.

“There was a large ashtray with sand in it sitting at the gazebo,” said Mary. “One night, somebody drew up a tic-tac-toe game. I don’t know who, but they put an “x” in the center. So, I put an “o”. The next time I came back, there was another “x”, so I put another “o”. And we went on playing tic-tac-toe in the mystery of the night. A couple of days later, I came out and he was out. That’s when I realized it was him I had been playing with. He asked me my name and I asked him his and that’s how our relationship began.”

From that point on, the two remained inseparable. For over four years they would spend every meal together, attend each other’s doctor appointments, and be in each other’s company every chance they got.

“We were there for each other. We were never without each other and we never fought. If there was something to be said, we would talk and that would be it. We never argued,” said Mary. “He was super affectionate, always holding my hand so tight. We had so many good times and spent 24/7 together. We were partners for four years, going into five years. It would be five years in June. Our relationship started out right from tic-tac-toe.”

Unfortunately, earlier this year Dallas developed an illness that led to him being placed on hospice.

“Prior to when Dallas got really sick, he always said he wanted us to get married,” Mary said. “We were going to go to city hall after he got better, but that didn’t work out due to the lockdown. So, I said okay I want him as my husband as much as he wants me as a wife. But he just kept getting sicker.”

One day, Dallas asked Mary if she was able to acquire wedding bands for them. Assuringly, Mary said she would find some “by hook or by crook.” That’s where the help of Heritage Woods’ Administrator, Terika Weiner, and Dietary Supervisor, Amanda Huizenga, came in to play.

The two went searching at the local Wal-Mart to try and find wedding bands but were unable to locate any that met the criteria. That’s when Amanda realized she had the perfect bands for them all along sitting in a jewelry box at her home.

“We were out looking for rings for them but none of them looked right or none of them felt right or they were too expensive,” said Amanda. “So, I thought ‘I have these rings just sitting in a box at home’, and it just felt like it was the right time. I know she appreciated it. My grandparents had a great marriage and the rings came from love and needed to go back to love.”

From there, Dallas and Mary were able to commemorate their love with a ceremony of love and cherish where they exchanged vows and rings. A certificate of love was issued instead of a marriage license, which Mary said was more than enough to make Dallas happy.

Four days later, on November 5, Dallas Curry passed away. “He passed away a little over four days after our ceremony and we were together a little over four years,” Mary said.

“He was a beautiful man. I could actually say he was my soulmate.”

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