BOISE, Idaho — Bob Blurton had not been at Salmon Creek retirement community in West Boise long before his reputation got around.
"Oh, you're the talker," a woman said when he introduced himself before sitting down to eat. So he decided to sit at another table — and that's when he met Eileen Johnson, who was more than happy to listen.
The 6-foot-1 former Navy pilot, who has a thick head of white hair, had already caught her eye.
"Who is that good-looking guy coming in here?" she recalled asking a staff member the first time she saw him.
That was just a few months ago. On Sunday, about 20 family members and friends gathered to watch Eileen and Bob exchange wedding vows in a third-floor chapel at Salmon Creek.
So why tie the knot when most of those seeking marriage licenses in Ada County around are in their 20s, 30s and 40s?
"It's because we feel that marriage is a precious thing in the sight of the Lord — and we're old-fashioned," Eileen said.
Bob has more than a few fascinating stories to share — some of which are in the history books. The Payette native was aboard the USS Tangier when the Japanese attacked on Dec. 7, 1941.
"He's a pretty charismatic guy, and so is she," said Eileen's son, Mike Johnson.
She was named Miss Northwest Passage as part of a contest held around the time that 1940 movie was filmed in McCall.
"There was a big ball and beauty contest. She was the Idaho debutante who most resembled (actress) Ruth Hussey," Johnson said.
In 2007, Bob lost his wife, Eleanor Richey. They had been married for 65 years and raised four children together, including three they adopted.
After moving several times since his wife's death, he decided to go to Salmon Creek — "to settle down and die."
"When I came here, I was a total wreck. I was depressed. I had a death wish," he said.
But that all changed when he met a kindred spirit.
"I knew what he was talking about when he talked about all the wonderful things he had done in the service," said Eileen, whose two sons both served in the Navy. "When we started talking, we found out we had so many things in common."
Johnson's late husband was Col. Martin Johnson, commander at Gowen Field from the early 1950s to early 1960s, her sons said.
Eileen and Bob talked over lunch — Bob talked more than he ate — and made plans to meet the next day. It became a daily date, and residents at the retirement community noticed the budding romance.
The couple said they were "going together" for just two weeks when they began to talk of marriage.
"Love just found me," Eileen said.
On Sunday afternoon, Eileen's sons, Mike, 66, and Harvey, 62, walked her down the aisle in the tiny Salmon Creek chapel.
Cynthia Jenkinson, an assistant manager at the retirement community, officiated at the wedding ceremony — which didn't last 10 minutes.
In her blessing after the vows, Jenkinson offered thanks for "the miracle of love that is not marked with time."
Eileen and Bob, who took their vows while seated, later joined family and friends at a reception in the retirement center's activity room.
Local businesses donated items: a sheet cake from Albertsons and a round cake from Kneaders Bakery. The staff at Salmon Creek made chocolate-dipped strawberries and — per the bride's request — put out champagne punch.
"We figure we ought to be able to make it to 100," Eileen said, noting the couple's commitment to staying healthy, being there for each other and enjoying whatever time they have left.
Bob also joked that his bags are packed in the event that he falls short.
"We're both ready for the Lord," he said.
Though Eileen and Bob are generally in good health, their knees make getting around a little difficult.
It's been a while since Eileen did the jitterbug or Bob hit the golf course.
Their hobbies now are simpler. "Holding hands," Eileen said as she squeezed Bob's hand.
They enjoy watching movies on Turner Classic and political commentator Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.
"We're both Democrats," said Eileen, noting that she remembers Gov. Butch Otter when he was just 10 years old — a friend of her son's — which was before he had "gone Republican."
Eileen is interested in traveling, and it's possible that a trip to Hawaii is in their future.
"I'm trying to figure out how we're going to travel," Bob said, noting that finances and their physical mobility create limits.
He said they might make it to the islands by flying military "space available."
For their honeymoon, the couple considered hitting the road in a motorhome. They decided instead to drive to Portland, then take a cruise on the Columbia River to Lewiston.
Information from: Idaho Statesman, http://www.idahostatesman.com