Faith Canary Osborn and Gary Loftin
Sept. 28, 2019, in Allentown, N.J.
It was a California summer, 1985. Faith grew up in Vincentown, N.J., but had moved with her mother to Rancho Cordova a year earlier. At 19, she was night supervisor at a Hallmark store in the local mall and was working behind the counter when she heard coworker Iva’s voice:
“Faith, this is my little brother, Gary.”
Faith looked up from her work. “Hey, Little Brother,” she said.
California native Gary, then 23, was entranced. “It was love at first sight,” he said.
“I can’t say the same,” Faith said. “But I thought he was good looking.”
Iva invited Faith to a party the next day. “It really wasn’t a party. It was just the four of us: Iva, her husband, Ken, and the two of us.”
Faith and Gary talked, drank a highly alcoholic concoction that Iva called Purple Jesus, and played a question-and-answer game. The last question was, “If you were stuck in an elevator for an hour, who would you want to be with?”
Gary looked Faith square in the eyes. “I’d want to be stuck in there with you,” he said.
When he walked her to her car, they kissed.
In May 1986, Gary and Faith got married. He was husband No. 1 for Faith; she was wife No. 2 for Gary, whose adult children, Brian and Kimberly, were then toddlers.
The following summer, the couple moved to Bordentown, N.J. For a while, it was blissful, but in their second year together, things got rough. Gary, then a carpenter and cabinetmaker, worked nights. Faith worked days as an oil company clerk. They weren’t getting along when they were together, and Faith thought Gary was cheating when they were apart.
He says he wasn’t, but convinced that he was, Faith found herself interested in someone else. “We had a big fight, and I left,” Gary said.
Faith married husband No. 2 in 1995. They divorced two years later, but with him, Faith had her now-adult children, Brett and Haley.
Now a marketing manager for National Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Products in Bensalem, Faith earned a degree in graphic design, found work in her field, and raised her children. In 2005, she married husband No. 3, to whom she was married for eight years before they divorced.
Gary moved to Delaware after he and Faith split. In 1990, he married wife No. 3, with whom he had a daughter, Katelynn, who died after battling cancer in 1997, and a son, Kole. They divorced in 1993.
He married wife No. 4 in 1994. They divorced after three years.
Gary moved to Texas, where in 2003, he began an eight-month marriage to wife No. 5.
Professionally, Gary left carpentry and cabinetmaking for health care. In 2004, he transferred to Bristol, Pa., as a medical construction project manager. In 2005, he met wife No. 6. They moved to Texas and got married in 2012.
“What can I say, I’m an optimist!” Gary quipped. More seriously, he said that throughout all that time, he was looking for the kind of connection he had had with Faith.
Between marriages, Gary had tried to find Faith. He stopped by the business of her sister and brother-in-law, Denise and Brian, to ask about her, but they would only tell him she had remarried.
There were too many Faith Elizabeths on Facebook, and he had no idea what her new last name was. He also had no idea that when his Texas-based company moved him to Bristol, he was just one town over from the woman he couldn’t find.
Gary said his sixth marriage was rocky when he visited Faith’s sister’s Facebook page, and recognized Faith’s picture. “I looked at her for a good hour, and then I sent her a friend request.”
Faith, who had settled in Levittown, Pa., drank a big glass of wine and hit “accept” two days later.
They exchanged many emails leading up to a two-and-a-half-hour, emotion-packed phone call.
“Here’s the woman I’ve been looking for for 29 years, and I’m able to talk to her again,” Gary said.
“The feeling that I got was that I knew him forever, that he was the same guy I fell in love with,” said Faith.
Gary got his own place in Cuero, Texas, on Nov. 1, 2017. Faith came to visit on Nov. 16. He had already told Faith he loved her and had never not. “She’s positive, she’s passionate. She genuinely cares for people,” he said. “She’s just a good person.”
Faith came down the escalator and Gary tried not to cry.
“He hugged me, and I almost couldn’t breathe,” said Faith. “That was it. I was in love.”
The feeling only deepened. “I love his voice. I love the way he protects me. I love that he opens doors for me and holds my hand constantly,” she said. “I can talk to him about anything. He’s passionate, romantic, and the cowboy I always wanted. I just didn’t see it back when I was young.”
They dated long distance until Thanksgiving weekend 2018, when Gary, now 57, joined Faith, now 53, in Levittown.
In April 2019, Gary told Faith he needed to talk. She sat on the edge of the bed and he knelt. “I asked her to marry me, and she said ‘yes.’ ”
The couple wed in Denise and Brian’s backyard. The groom wore a vest, jeans, and a cowboy hat. The bride wore cowboy boots beneath her gown.
Faith’s daughter, Haley, was maid of honor. Her son, Brett, walked her down the aisle to Gary, then handed the groom a bottle of Fireball. He took a swig, then passed the bottle to Faith. Haley, best man Ron, and officiant Mike — a friend of the couple — also took a drink.
In the vows she wrote, Faith told Gary that he had brought back her memories. Literally, the day they met up in San Antonio he gave her a tin full of photographs from their five years together. But what she meant was, she now had a future with someone who had shared her past. “I promised to love him unconditionally, and to support him in being exactly who he is, because I love everything about him.”
Gary also spoke of their past. “Back then, I wasn’t very smart. I didn’t realize what I had,” he told her. “But I’m very smart now, and I’m marrying the only woman I’ve ever been in love with.” He promised to show her that love every day for the rest of their lives.
The couple and their 50 guests had a party with farm-to-table food served family-style, lawn games, and lots of country music.
Gary is now a certified health care facility manager and is director of device management for R-Water, based in San Marcos, Texas. The couple is splitting their time between Pennsylvania and Texas.
“The second I saw her walking down the aisle was incredible,” Gary said. “It was a culmination of nearly 30 years of looking for her and the fact that I was finally marrying her again. My buddy Ron kept telling me to breathe.”
The couple did not have music or dancing at their first wedding, so it was a priority at this one. They had two first-dance songs — his to her was “I Cross My Heart” by George Strait. Hers to him was “I Could Not Ask for More” by Sara Evans. “When we were dancing, it was like no one was there but him and I,” Faith said.
A bargain: The lovely backyard venue was free. “All I had to do was build an arbor,” Gary said.
The splurge: “The first time we got married, I had this little dinky ring, with the tiniest little diamond,” Faith said. “I told him, ‘If I marry you again, I want a big rock!’ ”
A week at a cabin in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., that included driving go-carts and riding alpine coasters down one of the Smoky Mountains. “It was like we were kids again,” Faith said.
Officiant: Rev. B. Michael Zekas, Florence, N.J.
Venue: Home of Brian and Denise Erb, Allentown, N.J.
Food: Farm & Fisherman Tavern, Horsham, Pa.
Music: DJ John Wilson, Levittown, Pa.
Photography: Elizabeth Roy, Cream Ridge, N.J.
Flowers: Bloomers, Allentown, N.J.
Faith’s attire: David’s Bridal, Freehold, N.J.
Gary’s attire: Bar B Western Store, Vidor, Texas.