Eleanor “Ellie” Post Dittmar and her husband, Col. Raban “Ray” Dittmar, are newlyweds.
He is 94 and she is 79. They just celebrated their first wedding anniversary Jan. 26, and dated for two years before they got married.
The Daytona Beach couple, both widows, are an example of it never being too late to find love anew.
Col. Dittmar, a retired WWII Army veteran, had been “looking for someone nice.” Through mutual friends, the word got out and the two met in 2016 after Ms. Dittmar’s hairdresser encouraged her to meet her future husband on a blind date, which happened Jan. 7, 2016.
She laughed and said the first date was “OK, I gave him another chance.”
She added, “I think when you meet someone through a friend it’s better. You can meet people out and sometimes it turns out very well.”
Col. Dittmar spent 36 years in the Army and 31 years as a certified public accountant. Ms. Dittmar worked in the restaurant industry and at one point owned a local IHOP franchise. Each have an adult son from a prior marriage.
She said, “I didn’t want to get married, then I said to myself, 'why not?'”
They were married at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in South Daytona where she serves communion once a week and helps with the thrift store. Mr. Dittmar sings solos at the First Baptist Church of Harbor Oaks where he is a member.
Speaking of singing, Col. “Rocking Ray” as he likes to be called has been singing for more than 20 years. He has recently cut back his karaoke outings from five nights to two and, besides church, can be found belting out tunes at the South Daytona Moose Lodge, the Grind in Ormond Beach or any number of local karaoke venues. Favorite songs to sing include “Mambo No. 5,” “Achy Breaky Heart,” “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay,” “Wagon Wheel” and “I Had a Dream.”
Ms. Dittmar likes to dance to his music and accompanies him. “He sings, I dance,” she said.
The couple are constantly on the go, eating out every night, seeing movies and going on an occasional casino cruise. Mr. Dittmar uses a walker now, because of an unsteady gate, but that doesn’t stop him from driving, playing Lotto daily or getting to his beloved karaoke.
“So far I haven’t been sick enough that I have had to quit any of my activities,” he said.
He added, “I don’t want to be alone. It’s wonderful. She is exactly what God intended. I have been happy and everything is working out wonderfully. As far as I am concerned this (relationship) was a gift from God. It has turned out absolutely perfectly. It’s a happy marriage.”
The couple were interviewed for this article at Rossi’s Diner in South Daytona, one of their weekly restaurants stops.
At Rossi's, waitress Josey Abraham, 19, is a newlywed, too, marrying her husband, Robert, in December. The two were high school sweethearts at Atlantic High School and also live in Daytona Beach. Regarding the Dittmars who she sees regularly at the restaurant, she said “I was excited for them. It’s never too late.”
Mr. Dittmar was born in Virginia, but spent most of his life in Florida. His wife is a native New Yorker from Long Island. He has numerous military medals and honors, and is a lifetime member of VFW Post 3282 in Port Orange,the American Legion and Military Officers of America. He also is a member of the New Smyrna Beach Rotary Club and Sons of the American Revolution. Ms. Dittmar noted he is a regular guest of honor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University when new officers are commissioned.
The Dittmar’s first anniversary dinner was at the Chart House in Daytona Beach with cake and cocktails later at the South Daytona Moose Lodge, with karaoke, of course.