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November 23, 2014

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Woman marries at dad’s Alzheimer’s care center

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The Toledo Blade, Amy E. Voigt / Associated Press

Pastor Robert Davis, the father of the groom, center, conducts the marriage ceremony between Miriam Reeves, left, and Mark Davis beneath the gazebo in the courtyard of Foundation Park Alzheimer’s Care on Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014.

TOLEDO, Ohio — A Michigan woman who had been planning a traditional church wedding changed the venue to an Ohio nursing home so her father with Alzheimer's could walk her down the aisle.

Miriam and Mark Davis, of Canton, married Saturday at the Foundation Park Alzheimer's Care Center in Toledo.

A beaming Bernard Reeves, 64, gave his daughter away as many of the 30-some wedding guests struggled to hold back tears.

Reeves has advanced-stage Alzheimer's disease.

"My dad has been my hero my entire life and I know that if he was well, he would be at my wedding front and center," Miriam Davis, 31, told The Blade before the ceremony (http://bit.ly/VwRES7). "And I thought, 'Why not move it there and it would be more of a special event?'"

Davis and her fiance had been planning to marry at their church in Ypsilanti, Michigan. But she worried that her father might wander off if he were away from his nursing home.

The nursing home was enthusiastic about hosting the ceremony, she said.

Davis said her father still knows who she is but rarely talks and can't care for himself.

Reeves, a Vietnam War veteran, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2006 and moved to the Toledo nursing home two years ago when his symptoms worsened.

Reeves also was a police chaplain for a time. Most recently, he was a pastor at the New Creation Church in Detroit.

Marie Reeves, Davis' mother and Bernard Reeves' wife, said even though her husband may not have understood everything that was going on Saturday, his simple presence meant so much.

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