Prom KingRalph and LaVerne Wozniak absolutely love dancing together. In fact, it’s how they first met. A school friend introduced LaVerne, 87, and Ralph, 89, at a USO dance.

Twice during their lives, Ralph and LaVerne Wozniak missed a prom because Ralph went to serve in a war. Nearly seven decades later, the two finally attended one — and Ralph was named king.

“It was the wartime so we didn’t have proms. All we had was a senior dance,” LaVerne said.

The Florida couple would later watch their children go to extravagant proms and lament that they never got the experience.

“Since 1944 when I joined the Marine Corps until this date today I never thought I’d be a king, and here I am a king,” Ralph said of the prom

Ralph never finished high school because he enlisted and served in the Marine Corps overseas during WWII. Upon his return, he and LaVerne married on April 23, 1949. Ralph earned his GED. He missed that prom, too, when he was called to fight in the Korean War.

“We got a letter in the mail because he was still in the reserves,” said LaVerne. “When the Korean letter came it said you’ve got 30 days to take care of all your problems. It was right after we got married and it was really heartbreaking.”

“That really put the snap on it that I wasn’t going to go to any prom,” he said.

Decades passed, and their dreams finally came true when, on June 18th, they escorted each other to the Hillsborough County Aging Services Senior Prom.

“It just made us feel alive again,” said LaVerne, who donned a gorgeous gold gown that reminded her of her younger years. The event was appropriately called “Black Tie Affair,” so LaVerne made sure Ralph was “all spiffed up” in a grey jacket and black bow tie.

When Ralph’s name was pulled out of a hat to be prom king, it put a bow on the night they both had been anticipating for so long.

When asked if they had one piece of advice for other couples trying to keep young, Ralph’s reply was simple: “Get involved with a senior center. Keep as active with it as possible. This prom came to us out of the clear blue sky and now I’m a king.”

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