Ramona "Mona" Baumann, 85, moved into Hart Park Square senior community in February 2011. Two weeks later, her husband of 63 years, Basil, unexpectedly passed away. The couple had eight children, 17 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.
Raymond Kaas, 91, and his wife Evelyn had been living at Hart Park Square for four years at the time Ramona moved in. Several months later, Evelyn became ill and passed away. They were married for 63 years and had four children and four grandchildren.
The widow and widower soon became friends, and a relationship blossomed. It all started when Mona put a sympathy card in Ray's mailbox after he lost his wife. Shortly thereafter, they began socializing with mutual friends at the senior community and became inseparable.
"We often talked and joked about getting married," Ray said.
But Mona stressed that she did not want to get married out of loneliness: "It wasn't until Ray went away for a week to visit his brother in South Carolina that I knew I wanted to marry him. He called me every single night and even sent me a dozen roses while he was away."
When Ray came back from his trip, the couple was seriously discussing marriage, but out of respect for their children, they wanted to wait at least a year since the loss of their spouses. Eventually Ray picked out a diamond ring for Mona. The Saturday before Easter, he invited her to his apartment, got down on one knee and proposed like a true gentleman.
Originally, the wedding was to take place at St. Bernard Church in Wauwatosa. However, the couple has so many friends at Hart Park Square, they decided to have the wedding and reception there. The Rev. Peter Drenzek, the retired St. Bernard pastor who does weekly Mass at Hart Park Square, married the couple at 1 p.m. Aug. 18, 2012.
Robert Kaas, Ray's son, served as best man, and Julie Baumann, Mona's daughter, was maid of honor.
Mona wore a light pink dress with matching jacket and carried a bouquet of pink and white roses. Her son David Baumann walked her down the aisle.
A reception followed with 100 guests, including all 12 of the couple's children and their families.
Ray and Ramona spent a weeklong honeymoon in Door County at Pioneer Acres, which overlooks the Lake Michigan harbor.
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