Ed Sneckenberger and Priscilla Matheny were set to wed until Matheny received a letter saying he couldn’t marry her. Sixty years later — and a marriage and family each — he did.

The two met through their involvement with a church in Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1959.  Sneckenberger proposed after three years of a long-distance relationship. Matheny said she was “overjoyed” for their next chapter of life together. 

With the pressures of finances and wondering how he would afford the cost of schooling, Sneckenberger began to think he was not in a good stage of life to get married. So he sent her a letter breaking off their engagement. 

“After I read it, I sat on the edge of the bed and cried and cried and cried,” Matheny said to NPR, adding that she was brokenhearted when she received the letter. 

Like every heartbreak, the two eventually moved on with their lives, married other people, and went on to have children and grandchildren. 

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How did they rekindle their love?

In 2021, both Sneckenberger and Matheny experienced the grief of losing their spouses. While Sneckenberger mourned, he remembered his first love and decided he wanted to reach out to Matheny and apologize. 

According to NPR, the search wasn’t easy: “He didn’t know her married name, or where she was, but he was eventually able to find her through their church’s Facebook page. That’s when he sent her a friend request and some messages trying to reconnect.”

On receiving his request, Matheny didn’t think twice about rejecting it. “When I got the friend request, I thought, ‘I don’t want to be his friend.’ So I just deleted it,” she told NPR

Matheny told The Washington Post that at the time, she thought, “Who does he think he is? I don’t want anything to do with him.”

Sneckenberger didn’t give up there. He reached out to their church and got her contact information. Matheny figured the only way to get rid of him was to simply meet up with him and tell him to leave her alone. Feelings resurfaced when they met up at Panera Bread.

According to WBUR, “Both of us, in our own ways, have lived good lives. And Priscilla particularly was, in retirement. She had already become established in the days when I was trying to contact her, she didn’t need another person in her life,” Sneckenberger said.

“It was just too much for my mind and my heart to handle that she was as beautiful as she was. She’s every bit as beautiful now as she was then.” Sneckenberger wanted more after his coffee date. He said, per Upworthy, “The flame of young love blew up in me. I became obsessed with this lady and the opportunity to do what I didn’t do 60 years before.”

“It was like we had picked up from our engagement day,” Matheny said, according to Upworthy.

Matheny said about their discussion that “when he said he was just asking for forgiveness, I mean, I just told him, I really had put him out of my life then. (If) somebody doesn’t want you, you know, I wasn’t going to let him ruin my life anyhow. So I just told him, ‘Did it matter?’ He didn’t have to even ask for forgiveness.”

Public Opinion tweeted a picture of the happy couple getting married: “Sixty years after they were first engaged, Ed Sneckenberger and Priscilla (Troxell) Matheny married on Dec. 7 Hagerstown.”

“We want our flame to burn and grow for the rest of our lives,” Sneckenberger said, per Upworthy. Last December, after a whirlwind of a reunion, the couple tied the knot in the church where they met, 60 years later.