C. Vincent "Vince" and Patricia Pané of Massapequa will celebrate...

C. Vincent "Vince" and Patricia Pané of Massapequa will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in November 2013. Credit: Handout

Patricia and C. Vincent "Vince" Pané of Massapequa were married 50 years ago, eight days after President John F. Kennedy's assassination. Patricia recalls their courtship and wedding.

Vince and I met in the spring of 1962 at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. He was a first lieutenant stationed there, and I was the colonel's daughter. One of my friends invited me to a party and introduced me to Vince. He was assigned to escort some West Point cadets at the party who were visiting the base.

The next day, I ran into my friend and Vince at the officers' club pool. She wanted to date Vince and asked if I would go out on a double date with Vince's roommate. A few nights later, the four of us went to the officers club dinner dance. Vince and I started talking and dancing. He was 22 and from New Hyde Park. He had graduated from Hofstra College and was an ROTC lieutenant. I was 18 and a second-year student at Hotel Dieu School of Nursing in El Paso and lived on campus. By the end of the evening, our dates were on their own. Vince and I had our first date on June 17.

I told my mother about Lt. Vincent Clement, and she checked the base roster but didn't find his name. When I questioned him, he said he was Clement Pané. My friend had told me that Vincent was his middle name and that his first name was Clement, but I got it mixed up. We continued dating, and in May 1963 Vince asked me to marry him. He had already written to my father, who was stationed in Korea, to ask his permission.

Vince was honorably discharged that June and moved back to New York. When my father came home in August, he was assigned to the Pentagon and we moved to Alexandria, Va. Vince and I planned to marry in November 1963 at Fort Myer in Arlington, Va.

On Nov. 22, we heard that President Kennedy had been shot and killed. I remember standing on line for eight hours to walk past the president's casket in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.

We were married on Nov. 30 at the Memorial Chapel at Fort Myer, just outside the National Cemetery and not far from President Kennedy's grave site. Our luncheon reception was at the officers club, but since all military posts were in mourning, there was no music or dancing.

Vince retired in 1995 as a mathematics teacher at Plainedge High School. He also coached cross-country, indoor track and spring track. He then taught at Molloy College in Rockville Centre from 1996 until 2013, and is now professor emeritus and teaches two classes. I retired in 2011 from St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, where I was a registered nurse and assistant nurse manager.

We are blessed with three wonderful children, their spouses and nine grandchildren. We plan on celebrating our 50th anniversary this year with our family, including my 93-year-old father, by renewing our vows at Maria Regina R.C. Church in Seaford. Afterward there will be a luncheon, this time with music and dancing.

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