Robert and Patricia Connelly were wed on Oct. 20, 1956. They celebrated with a special ceremony outside Peconic Bay Medical Center's skilled nursing facility, where Patricia is a long-term resident. Photo: Peter Blasl

The Town of Riverhead honored long time residents Robert and Patricia Connelly on their 65th wedding anniversary during a ceremony hosted by Peconic Bay Medical Center on Wednesday.

The Connellys were married on Oct. 20, 1956 and have four children. Local politicians, medical workers and family members attended the ceremony, where Patricia, 82, who is being cared for at the hospital’s skilled nursing facility.  

“When two people grow closer to one another as the years go by, but still remain with the special qualities that made each of them into each other, they have become an inspiration to others, a positive reminder of how beautiful love can be,” Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said, as she issued a town proclamation celebrating the couple. “Our best wishes for health, happiness, and may they continue to be blessed in this special love for each other for many years to come.”

The couple were then serenaded by one of the hospital’s staff, patient liaison Jerome Lewis, who sang “When I Said ‘I Do’” by Matthew West.

Members of the town board gathered with Robert and Patricia Connelly for the 65th anniversary celebration Oct. 20. Photo: Peter Blasl

“The ceremony was absolutely beautiful,” said Amy Loeb, PBMC’s executive director. “It put such a huge smile on my face seeing how happy the couple of 65 years were together. I am so proud of our Skilled Nursing and Patient Experience team for putting together such an amazing ceremony for one of our long-term patients.”

Robert, 83, said in an interview after the ceremony that the couple started dating as teenagers after they met in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood where they grew up. They got married young — he was 18 she was 17 — and Patricia followed Robert as he went into the Marines, staying in military housing. 

The couple lived in Florida before moving to the Manorville area, where Robert was a fire district commissioner for 30 years. The two have been living in Riverhead Town for about 15 years, he said.

Robert said the key to a long, happy marriage is communication. “Don’t go to bed mad. [Have] good communication. If something’s on your mind, communicate, work it out,” he said.

Peter Blasl contributed reporting.

Photo: Peter Blasl

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: [email protected]