Bay Ridge

Pastor helps couple renew wedding vows 60 years later

April 26, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Rev. Msgr. Kevin Noone enjoys catching up on old times with Claire and Bob Palmer. Eagle photo by Paula Katinas

Msgr. Kevin Noone was altar boy at their 1956 wedding

When Claire and Bob Palmer were married in Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church in Bay Ridge in 1956, one of the altar boys at the Mass was named Kevin, who Claire babysat when he was little. She requested that Kevin be at her wedding service.

Fast-forward 60 years.

Claire and Bob Palmer, who now live in Pennsylvania, came back to Bay Ridge to celebrate their 60th anniversary on Sunday with a ceremony at Our Lady of Angels renewing their marriage vows.

The church’s pastor, who conducted the vow renewal ceremony, is the Rev. Msgr. Kevin Noone. And yes, he is the same Kevin who was an altar boy at the wedding decades ago.

“You can imagine how old I am if I was an altar boy at a wedding 60 years ago!” Noone cheerfully told the congregation on Sunday.

Noone remembered Claire Palmer as his babysitter. “Claire was one of four young women who helped my mother babysit me,” he said.

“To have the monsignor preside over the renewal of their vows after 60 years of marriage and the journey both my parents and the monsignor have taken is a dream come true, a sign from God that they have done well and he has provided this moment for everyone who will witness,” the Palmers’ son, Stephen Palmer, told the Brooklyn Eagle.

For Claire and Bob Palmer, Sunday was a day filled with wonderful memories. They were both born and raised in Bay Ridge.

The couple arrived at Our Lady of Angels at 7320 Fourth Ave. with a large contingent of relatives and friends. The Palmers have six children: Bob, Steve, Rich, Mike, Laura and Nancy; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Even though they moved away from Brooklyn many years ago, they still have fond memories of growing up here, according to their son Stephen.

“My parents first met in elementary school at Our Lady of Angels,” Stephen said. Claire went on to attend Bay Ridge High (now the High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology) and Bob went to St. Michael’s Diocesan High School (now Xaverian High School).

When Bob was young, he used to deliver the Brooklyn Eagle.

One of Claire’s favorite Bay Ridge memories was the time she spent with her friends hanging out in Henry’s Soda Shop on Fifth Avenue. For Bob, it was playing stickball and roller hockey with his buddies in the streets before there were cars. He also enjoyed going swimming off the 69th Street Pier.

After they were married, the Palmers lived in Bay Ridge for a few years and then headed to the suburbs on Long Island. They eventually moved to Pennsylvania.

Bob worked for many years as a senior manager at F&M Schaefer Brewing Co., first in Brooklyn, then in Albany and finally landing in Fogelsville, Pennsylvania. Claire was a stay-at-home mom during the early years of her children’s lives, but went to work at JC Penney when her kids were teenagers.

Following the renewal of their marriage vows, Claire and Bob led the family to Gino’s Restaurant at 7414 Fifth Ave. for a delicious Italian meal.

When asked for their secret to a long, happy marriage, the couple let their son Stephen answer.

“My parents complement each other because they are opposites. They have given us unconditional love with my dad as the rock and my mom as the glue. They have endured, sacrificed, fought and loved together for 60 years!” he told the Eagle.