When the one you love fades away

BARRY’S BAY – Eleanor Stanutz watched her husband of almost 60 years go from leading the immersion program for the Ottawa Board of Education to not being able to recognize her. This was how extreme life had gotten after Spencer Stanutz was diagnosed with vascular dementia.

Eleanor and Spencer met in Virginiatown, Ont., near Kirkland Lake. Eleanor was from Killaloe and Spencer was born in Timmins.

“I moved up north to teach and Spencer happened to be in the same school,” Eleanor explained. “We didn’t get along for the first couple of years. By the third year, everything clicked.”

They simply had disagreements about the “superficial stuff,” Eleanor said. However, they realized that they both loved the same things, like teaching, education and kids.

Their first date was to a theatre in Kirkland Lake. Eleanor paid her own way, but admitted the evening was a blast.

“We really enjoyed being together outside of the school and liked the same things,” she said.

Around a year later, Spencer took her to visit his grandmother in Timmins. On the way back, the couple stopped by Bear Lake and he asked for her hand in marriage.

“He said we belong together and he really felt that our futures are supposed to be together,” Eleanor recalled.

She asked for a month or so to make her decision. Summer holidays were fast approaching, which meant Eleanor would be coming back down to Killaloe.

“I thought about it and thought about it, and I said yes,” she said.

A year after that, the couple were married.

Get your May 24, 2017 edition of The Valley Gazette to read the full article.