It took three chance meetings for Regis Woodlands resident Jim Rule to ask Jill Peacock, as she was then known, on a date in the late 1950s, but that date ultimately led to a lifetime partnership which has stood the test of time – in fact more than six decades.
“The first time I ever set eyes on Jill, my brother and I were at the pictures and I spotted her but she was with a boyfriend, so we didn’t speak,” explains Jim, who was born in London to a mum who was only one of two female doctors to become a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, and a father who was fourth generation Australian.
“Then I bumped into her again when the Red Cross had a barn dance on a big property near where I was living in Kattaning. I remember the night vividly, it was by invitation-only and the venue was a big shearing shed where we talked and danced for hours, but Jill still had a boyfriend so it didn’t go any further.
“And then the third time we met was at a tennis tournament and I plucked up the courage to ask her if she’d like to go to the pictures, although the problem was I hadn’t asked where she lived, so I had to do some sluicing to find her address,” Jim laughs. “But the rest, as they say, is history and we’ve been together ever since.”
The couple, who now live together at Regis Woodlands, went on to marry on August 20, 1960 at St Philips Anglican Church in Cottesloe, after a series of chaotic incidents the day before, which involved lost car keys, an overheated car and a dead fan belt, just as the pair were making their way to Perth for the wedding from their hometown in Kondinin.
“That was an eventful day, but the wedding itself went smoothly and we’ve had a very happy marriage and a good life together,” says Jill, who was born in Claremont in 1938, and went to Perth Modern school before teacher training college, after which she become a teacher herself.
“We have been blessed with three wonderful children, Diana, Phil and Natalie, and now we have six grandchildren who we adore.
“But as well as needing to work hard at it, I think the key to a happy marriage is having similar interests, and we have always enjoyed bushwalking, four-wheel driving and being out in nature, which has led us to do much travelling around Oz, in fact we have traversed every desert in Australia.”
Their love of the outdoors led the couple to become Friends of Kings Park when the organisation was in its infancy with just three members, with Jim serving as the treasurer for 13 years and Jill also very involved in the organisation over more than 25 years, leading the couple to be bestowed with the title of Life Members.
Krupa Shah, General Manager of Regis Woodlands, says couples like Jill and Jim epitomise what Valentine’s Day is all about – celebrating love, affection, companionship and mutual respect.
“Jim and Jill’s partnership is a true testament to a long and happy marriage,” she said. “They have led incredibly full and interesting lives, which has seen them live in many different places within the state and enjoy a love of the outback, as well as a passion for dancing, which they enjoyed up until quite recently so they tell me.
“What is very clear is the deep love and affection they have for each other, and we’re very much looking forward to helping them to celebrate Valentine’s Day – after all, it is the traditional annual day of love.”
Regis offers a diverse range of care options including residential aged care, home care, retirement living, day therapy and day respite. Regis is one of the largest providers of aged care in Australia and cares for more than 7,000 residents each year.