Every day at lunchtime, Barbara Ferranti goes to the Palace Gardens in Homestead to spend quality time with her husband Bob. She always stays until after dinner, because one hour just won’t cut it.
"Isn't he cute?" Barbara said as she caressed Bob's face.
Two years ago, when Bob’s Alzheimers became more advanced, Barbara had to make the difficult decision to move him into the Palace’s Memory Care Program.
“Right now, as long as he knows me and I have him, I have to be with him," she said.
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The Ferranti’s love story began in 1969 at the University of Miami. Bob asked Barbara’s roommate to go to a homecoming game, but Barbara wasn't having it.
“I was jealous, so I said to my roommate, I think he is rather wild," Barbara recalled. "So she broke the date and he came to me and said, 'I'm such a nice guy, why did you tell her that?' And then I said, 'I’ll go to homecoming with you,' and that was the beginning!”
A few months later they planned to get married, but religion became part of the conversation. Barbara was raised Jewish and Bob is Catholic.
They broke up and didn’t talk for a year and a half.
"And then after that, he called me in the middle of the night and he said, 'I’m coming down, I’m taking you away and I’m going to marry you,'" said Barbara.
The rest is history. Bob and Barbara have now been married for 50 years.
“When our son was born, the challenge was his parents were devout Catholic, mine were open-minded, but what were the children going to be?" Barbara said. "And my husband said, 'I want them to be Jewish,' and I told my children, 'We are going to raise you Jewish, but however you feel growing up you make your own decision.'"
Barbara says they’re definitely a case of “opposites attract.” She believes their individuality but respect for each other has been the recipe for a happy marriage.
Now as this new stage of life begins for the couple, it is an unwavering commitment and deep-rooted love that is carrying them through.
"What’s so hard is he’s leaving me. You know with this disease, he is leaving me and someday he won’t know who I am. But for now, he knows who I am and so I have to enrich his life and enrich my life by being with him," Barbara said. "Plus he still has his sense of humor!”