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Ken Felts, who didn't come out until he was 90, has just gotten married

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Now some proof that true love is timeless. From Colorado Public Radio, here's Ryan Warner.

RYAN WARNER, BYLINE: In the depths of the pandemic, Ken Felts came out of the closet at age 90 on Facebook.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KEN FELTS: There comes a time when you grow old that you have to face up to how you have lived your life, to face up to your inner self. I have always had two personas, the one out in public...

WARNER: The Navy veteran had been journaling when memories surfaced of a man he dated in the 1950s. Philip had blue eyes and a killer smile. They were happy together.

FELTS: The fellowship, the holding hands, the closeness, even now...

WARNER: It's still really visceral, huh?

FELTS: Very much so, yes.

WARNER: Do you think that that's proof it's true love?

FELTS: It must be because it's hung on for 60 years now.

WARNER: Felts, though, was determined to be straight. He left Philip and married a woman. They had a child, then divorced. In 2020, his daughter was the first person he told he was gay. They were even on StoryCorps together. I asked Felts if he wanted to get married again.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

FELTS: No.

(LAUGHTER)

WARNER: You've been there, done that?

FELTS: That's correct. That's correct. Now, of course, if it was Philip, I'd marry Philip.

WARNER: Philip, however, had died by then. Felts' story went viral. And nearby Johnny Hau read one of the articles about him.

JOHNNY HAU: Watching his story of, you know, never too late to come out, that inspired me to write to him, letting him know that I really found encouragement from his story.

WARNER: Hau didn't expect a response but got one. And the two went on a date. It was a love connection, inspiring Hau to come out of the closet and Felts, now 93, to change his mind about marriage.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Ken, you have chosen Johnny to be your husband? Will you stand by him through whatever may come?

FELTS: I will.

WARNER: On July 8, they exchanged rings in their backyard in Arvada, Colo. And Felts was once again inspired to write - a poem for Johnny.

FELTS: Near the end of my days and in the heat of my night, I found a great love, whom I shall ever hold tight. We explore our new world with breathless delight.

WARNER: For NPR News, I'm Ryan Warner in Denver.

(SOUNDBITE OF MESSAGE TO BEARS' "FAREWELL, STARS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Ryan Warner