• The Brighter Side of News

After 2 strokes, man relearns Kenny Rodgers song and sings it to his wife on their 63rd anniversary

[Aug. 19, 2020: Joseph Shavit]



After being married for almost 63 years, Joe Korst didn't let two strokes stop him from carrying out his anniversary tradition — singing Kenny Rogers' "All That You Could Be" — for his wife, Sharon Korst.


Although he'd lost much of his ability to speak and memory due to the strokes, Joe Korst, 87, relearned the lyrics in five days and surprised his wife, 83, with his rendition on their 63rd wedding anniversary.


The couple's daughter Theresa Kostrzewa filmed the remarkable feat, and it was shared on Facebook by WakeMed Health and Hospitals in Raleigh, North Carolina, where Joe Korst was a patient.


In the clip, the couple sits at a dining table and holds hands as they serenade each other. "Come closer," the father of four says and then they share a kiss.



In late June, Joe had his first stroke, which was followed by another one month after. Kostrzewa encouraged his dad and his speech therapist to learn the song many days before their wedding anniversary. Since their 50th anniversary, Joe had been singing the same song every year.


Kostrzewa explained that his father probably had sung the song about 150 times. She said that after the first stroke, her dad could only say "I love you," and "I'm sorry." She said that while her dad did not learn the whole song, he was able to sing the most important part.


"When we sent the video of them singing, it was awesome for everybody," she added. "It was so sweet."


The couple met when Joe was 22 and Sharon was in her late teens. Kostrzewa shared that she remembered one moment when one of the staff at WakeMed asked her about her father's secret to a long and happy marriage.


"He says, 'Love the hell out of your wife,'" Kostrzewa said. "He tells people, 'I'm 63 years in love.' He just has always unfailingly loved my mom and lets everybody know it and everybody see it."


The daughter explained that her dad would advise people to "love the hell" out of your spouse. Joe tells people that he is 63 years in love. Kostrzewa said that her dad unfailingly loved her mom and made sure to let everybody know and see it.


She added that her mom has been blessed to have her husband love her throughout her life. Sharon feels everything is going to be okay because Joe lets them know that they have got everything under control through the song he sings.


"They're definitely yin-yang," Kostrzewa quipped. "(Dad) goes, 'This is a story that needs to be told.' He holds my mom's hand and he says, 'It's your love story.'"

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Want to hear the song?


Here is the original version of Kenny Rogers' "All That You Could Be".