HEBRON — Online she was “Spunky Nana,” age 67, living in Otisfield. He was “Best Pie Baker,” 70, in Hebron.

“Just for the heck of it one night, I went on ChristianMingle.com and his cute little face came up,” Carlyn Kroitzsh said.

The cute face belonged to pie baker Jim Kroitzsh.

She dropped him a note. He asked her to Applebee’s.

Seven weeks later, they got married.

Jim had felt confident about looking for love online. He proposed 15 days after their first date.

“I just figured why not?” he said. “I found a very great wife one time — I should be able to do it again.”

Carlyn, now 70, had lost her husband Martin Watts in 2012. They’d been high school sweethearts, married almost 45 years, with two kids. He died from complications from diabetes.

She missed having a companion.

“My daughter kept saying, ‘Ma, why don’t you go online, see if you can meet somebody?'” Carlyn said.

Jim, now 73, had lost his wife Jean in 2010. She died quickly, from cancer. They’d been married 42 years, had three children, and ran Valley View Orchard Pie Company together.

When his profile first popped up, Carlyn said she liked Jim’s smile. “He just looked really nice,” she said. Church meant a lot to both of them and, as it turned out, they went to churches across the street from each other in Norway.

After they traded numbers, “You called me and you asked me out that night. ‘Oh, let me check my busy schedule and let me see if I’m free. . .'” Carlyn said to Jim, laughing.

That first date lasted three and a half hours.  

“Then the emails started,” she said. She kept a scrapbook of their back and forth replies, which started at 9:11 p.m. that same night. “We just saw each other every day that week.”

They were suddenly inseparable. Carlyn would join Jim on his 11-hour pie delivery routes.

“That’s how we got to know each other,” she said.

His brother cautioned, “Don’t rush anything.” Their childrens’ jaws dropped when they announced it was serious, that he’d proposed.

One response: “You don’t even know the lady!”

But, it felt right.

“Everyone says, ‘Oh, that’s strange.’ But then you turn around — we don’t have that much time left. What do we have to lose? Nothing,” Jim said. “We’re going to go for it. We knew it wasn’t a mistake.”

They thought a summer wedding would be in order, something at the orchard, but when Carlyn’s daughter announced plans to throw an engagement party and that guest list grew to 120 people, plans changed.

“We thought, you know what? Everybody’s going to be here, why don’t we just get married?” she said.

Twenty guests watched them get married at her Christ Episcopal Church on March 15, 2014. She carried seven roses, one for each week they’d dated.

Hours later, the couple surprised 100-plus family and friends who thought they’d gathered for a meal at his St. Catherine’s Catholic church.

Jim’s son, Steve, who’d also stood as his best man, broke the news to the crowd.

“‘Well, I’ve got a little surprise. A funny thing happened on the way to the engagement party . . .'” Carlyn remembers him saying. “Some people said, ‘I knew it!’ Some people said, ‘What?!'”

They all sat down to a nice meal and a lot of pies.

The couple had approached his church and gotten permission before tying the knot — his church would recognize the marriage even if the ceremony was done in her church. Their marriage was blessed a few weeks later at a regular Mass at St. Catherine’s.

Jim’s bakery makes 150,000 pies a year, selling to 150 accounts including Hannaford. It keeps him busy, too busy.

They’d like to relax, travel and enjoy each other.

“We were in church one morning and I had a tap on my shoulder, and he says, ‘You inspired us,'” said Jim.

The man was Catholic, his girlfriend was Baptist. They were an older couple and they’d recently met.

They were going to go for it.

“His wife, now, they just have so much fun,” Jim said. “(In) old age, you know how to treat people right. You say something wrong, you apologize for it.”

You find someone you love, you propose.

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