Life for Mr. Potenzano had become “a state of isolation,” he said. “When it lasted long enough, I thought of other people who were lonely. And guess who came to mind?” By 2022, he had convinced himself to ask Ms. Elkind for a date. That fall at a christening for a new great-great niece, he asked Ms. Elkind if she would like to have coffee or lunch sometime, just the two of them.
Ms. Elkind was surprised. But “I always used to say to myself, ‘I wish Joe would ask me out,’” she said. “So when he did, I was very happy.” That November, instead of coffee, they attended an Irish dance performance at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, N.J., with two of Mr. Potenzano’s nieces. “It was wonderful,” Ms. Elkind said of the show. It was romantic too: He held her hand.
Over the next few months, they fell in love to a soundtrack of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. “I’m at the age where my voice is like a foghorn,” Mr. Potenzano said. But karaoke at his house became a favorite activity. “We love to sing,” Ms. Elkind said. She doesn’t hear a foghorn when Mr. Potenzano picks up the mic: “He has a beautiful voice,” she said.
Mr. Potenzano proposed this summer while they were sitting on his sofa. “Do you think we should get married?” he said. Before that moment, she wasn’t sure. After Mr. Elkind had died, “if anyone asked if I thought I’d ever get married again, I said no,” she said. But “Joe’s a wonderful man.” She said yes.
On Oct. 15, Ms. Elkind and Mr. Potenzano were married at Our Lady of the Visitation Roman Catholic Church in Paramus by the Rev. Antonio L. da Silva, a Roman Catholic priest. Guests included 90 close-knit friends and family members. Ms. Elkind wore a floor length champagne-colored dress, and Mr. Potenzano donned a navy blue suit.
They honeymooned in Woodloch Pines, a resort in Hawley, Pa. Ms. Elkind spends most of her time in Paramus, but is keeping her condo in Chestnut Ridge. “We’ll use that as an escape,” she said. But not from each other. “We plan to enjoy the years we have left,” Mr. Potenzano said.
“I feel so blessed,” Ms. Elkind said.
“Ditto,” Mr. Potenzano added.