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Snowbirds from Ohio fall in love, watch Buckeyes, go on cruises

Duane and Nancy Campbell enjoy a kiss on their honeymoon cruise in March aboard the MS River Splendor in Europe. The couple wed on Jan. 3 in St. Petersburg. During the Antwerp-to-Amsterdam river cruise they stopped by the Gassan diamond factory in Amsterdam, where Duane bought Nancy a token of his affection: a ring with two joined hearts.

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Duane and Nancy Campbell enjoy a kiss on their honeymoon cruise in March aboard the MS River Splendor in Europe. The couple wed on Jan. 3 in St. Petersburg. During the Antwerp-to-Amsterdam river cruise they stopped by the Gassan diamond factory in Amsterdam, where Duane bought Nancy a token of his affection: a ring with two joined hearts.

Newlyweds Duane and Nancy Campbell, who are both 77, lived a block from each other for 25 years in Columbus, Ohio. Their kids went all through school together. They no doubt shopped in the same stores, ate in the same restaurants, watched the same Ohio State Buckeyes games in sports bars. And yet, they had to travel more than 1,000 miles to meet and fall in love in paradise. They got married in January at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club and recently returned from their honeymoon, an Antwerp-to-Amsterdam river cruise. We met up with the snowbirds — to ask them about dropping anchor and getting hitched — as they were packing to head back to Ohio from their Bayway condo in the sky.

Patti Ewald, Times staff writer

1 So, how did you two meet?

"We were in Big Al's (in Sarasota) with a group of mutual friends in 2008 to watch an OSU basketball game," Nancy said. "Some women from Columbus introduced us.

"We talked during the game but went our own separate ways when it was over."

They didn't meet again until four years later — at a Columbus mixer last year. This time the spark ignited and stayed lit.

"Two days after the mixer, he called to ask about my place. I said, 'You want to come see it?' "

End, er, beginning of story.

2 You're fans of river cruising. How do they differ from ocean cruises?

"There are more stops and the side trips are included in the cost of the trip," Nancy said. "You learn a lot more about a country on a river cruise. You can see how it developed because most European cities are on a river."

Their favorite? Moscow to St. Petersburg.

Left on their bucket list? "I hope we live long enough to do the new Panama Canal," Duane said. "We've both gone through the canal with our former spouses," he said. "We'd like to go through the new one together." (It's expected to open mid-2015.)

3 What one piece of advice would you give first-time cruisers?

"Don't take too much because you want room in your suitcase for things you buy," Nancy said.

4 Speaking of buying things, tell us about the surprise Nancy got on the trip.

"When we were going, I was teasing him that I have to take a carryon with wheels because we're going to Gassan diamond factory in Amsterdam," Nancy said. "You know, they supplied the Queen of England with her diamonds."

He didn't respond to her teasing until one day on their trip when he said to her, "Let's go shopping."

She picked out a ring with two joined hearts in honor of theirs.

5 Please tell us the secret of finding true love at our age.

"Get out and do what you like to do and maybe you'll find the right person there," Nancy said.

"And," she added, "don't settle for less than the best."

Know someone who would make a good "5 Questions" subject? Tell Patti Ewald. You can reach her at pewald@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8746.

Snowbirds from Ohio fall in love, watch Buckeyes, go on cruises 04/23/13 [Last modified: Monday, April 22, 2013 6:15pm]
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