93-year-old takes three buses daily to visit wife’s grave

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(CBS News) — Ted Richardson, 93, is showing the world true love exists. Nearly every day, the WWII veteran takes three buses from his apartment in Waikiki to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, where his wife, Florence, is buried.

Richardson tends to his wife’s grave, trimming the grass around it and brushing leaves off. He said it’s the least he can do for his beloved late wife, who took care of him for 72 years.

“I always tell her when I go up there, ‘Payback time,'” Richardson told CBS Honolulu affiliate KGMB.

He makes the long trip to the cemetery six days a week – no matter the weather – and is often the first visitor there, arriving just after the gates open at 6:30 a.m.

Richardson said he was 16 and Florence was just 14 when they met. “I was standing in the hall. The classes were changing and I saw a beautiful girl,” he said. “I went home and told my dad that night I saw the girl I was going to marry.”

The couple from Pennsylvania was temporarily separated when Richardson fought in WWII. He took Florence’s photo with him everywhere. 

“She was beautiful. I didn’t mind looking at her all the time,” Richardson said. 

When the Marine returned home, he and Florence got married. She worked for the FBI and he became a school teacher. Together, they had a son.

“I never heard her say a bad word,” Richardson said about his wife, who died in 2013. “For 72 years she lost her temper only once — in 72 years! And it was my fault,” Richardson said.

Richardson usually arrives at the cemetery with flowers in hand. Since it’s now hard for him to walk, security staffers drive him up a hill to his wife’s grave.

Richardson has already arranged for his church to bring Florence flowers after he dies. But for now, he has no plans on slowing down. 

He has visited Florence’s grave over 1,300 times.

“They say, ‘How do you keep track?’ I have calendars and I mark them down every day when I come home,” he said. “I’ll keep going as long as I can go. God will tell me when I’ve had enough.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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