Sweethearts at Wesley Homes Lea Hill

When Millard and Martha Battles look at the metal sculpture above their fireplace, it reminds them of what destiny had in store for them: love. “We both had one-of-a-kind sculptures from the same artist in our homes, so right off the bat we had something in common,” said Millard. Martha and Millard met 4-1/2 years ago when they both became founding residents of Wesley Homes Lea Hill. They lived across from each other in Village Homes. Though they were friendly, neither had much contact with the other until they were both on the Wesley Homes Lea Hill Resident Council together. “There was a party that needed to be planned, so I volunteered Millard to be the party chair,” said Martha. At the time, Millard was in Alaska and had quite the surprise when he returned! After that, they’d walk to breakfast together as neighbors. Millard began asking Martha out to dinner, but she kept telling him no. This became a weekly ritual until Martha finally said yes. “I got tired of telling him no,” she laughed. On their first date, “He talked all night! I couldn’t get a word in.” Millard’s intelligence [he holds doctorate, master’s and bachelor’s degrees], personality and sense of humor won Martha over. They knew they had to tell their friends and neighbors about their relationship and invited them over for dinner. “They said they already knew because Millard started dressing better, and his hair was combed,” said Martha. When Millard’s daughter was about to get married, the couple realized they would have to take an overnight trip. The question of whether or not they should get married was simplified by Bud, Millard’s oldest son. Before their spouses passed away, both Martha and Millard had taken care of their spouses during illnesses. Once Bud posed the question, “Are you ready to take care of each other?” the couple knew their answer: yes! They were married in April 2009 in Renton, WA, with 450 people attending their reception at Wesley Homes Lea Hill. “It was wonderful to see everyone dressed up. We always see them in their everyday clothes,” said Martha. And how would their families blend? Millard has five children, but Martha has none. “She told me ‘Don’t smother me with your kids’ and I told her ‘Don’t isolate me from my kids.’ Now she thinks more of my kids than I do!” said Millard. “We’ve found a happy balance,” agreed Martha. That happy balance includes blending their active lives. They are deeply involved in Wesley Homes Lea Hill activities. Martha is now head of the Resident Council, and the couple support Wesley Homes Foundation’s fundraising. Martha, a NASBLA Boating Educator Award winner for Washington State, takes Millard on fishing trips to local lakes. Millard has gotten Martha involved in the Boeing Bluebills, a volunteer organization close to his heart. Millard recalled his second date with Martha, a lunch at Salty’s in Redondo. “My kids called me 12 times, but I didn’t answer,” he said. His sole attention was on his lady love.