Azura man suffering from dementia officiates wedding

Local News

AZURA, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – A local memory care facility was transformed into a wedding venue for one of its employees.

Marrying the happy couple, an Azura memory care resident. First News at Nine’s Max cotton takes us to this special ceremony.

Azura Memory Care of Eau Claire was transformed into a wedding venue Thursday.

One of its residents, Jerry Richards, married the happy couple, John Zey and Kris Ranney.

Jerry Richards, who suffers from dementia, got to officiate one last wedding through a program at Azura allowing residents to achieve their “dream” through their “perfect day.”

Jerry’s wife, LeeAnn Richards, said her husband, a retired professor, loved officiating weddings so much he used to do it for free.

“It’s given him something to focus on and to prepare for and so I think it’s really meant a lot to him to be able perform another wedding ceremony,” she said. “He’s done quite a few of them over the years so I think it was just a special, special day for him.”

When Zey, Azura’s maintenance head, was deciding over how he and Ranney would get married, he thought of no better way to tie the knot than turning Jerry Richards’ dream into reality.

“Once he knew that I was getting married, the preparation and everything that he had done in the past came forward. You know, it just brought his whole inner being back out,” Zey said.

While his wedding day was always going to be special, Zey said having Jerry Richards perform the ceremony made it extra special.

“It’s a piece of me that’ll always be there,” Zey said. “It’s one of the memories that’ll never be shaken, never taken away. Knowing that you shared it with somebody that need that time in their life to help lift them up, you can’t take that away. You can’t take away that joy that I feel about it.”

In Eau Claire, Max Cotton, First News at Nine.

The mother of the bride is also a resident at Azura.

Having the wedding at the facility made it possible for her to be there on their special day as well.

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