Love is in the Air at Moorings Park

February 10, 2022

MPOC-Couple-Borman-Willcox-WEB-2-Edited (1)With Valentine’s Day Just Around the Corner, a Moorings Park Couple Plans a Walk Down the Aisle

Many people believe the happiest marriages begin with a strong friendship. For Moorings Park resident Earle Borman and his fiancée, Shelby Willcox, truer words were never spoken.

Although the couple only recently got engaged, they’ve known each other for quite some time. Until a few years ago, Earle and his wife, Barbara, met frequently for dinner and dancing with Shelby and her longtime companion, Joel.  The two couples became close friends, until sadly, Earle and Shelby both faced the passing of their respective partners, and the grief that follows such a loss.  

Fortunately, each had family and friends to lean on during this difficult time. As they moved forward with their lives, neither had an inkling that a new romance was in the cards – or that they would find it with each other.

It Began with a Phone Call

A few months ago, Shelby was gearing up for a trip to New York to sell her apartment when Earle’s adult children reached out to her. They asked Shelby if she’d mind if their father gave her a call.  

“They knew I was close friends with both their mother and father,” Shelby said. “They thought it would be nice if Earle and I saw each another again.”

It turns out, Earle’s kids were definitely onto something.  Close friendships and strong social connections are crucial to living happier, healthier lives, especially as we get older.  In Earle and Shelby’s case, their friendship deepened into something even more special. The pair shared a few dates before Shelby left for her trip, but kept in close touch by talking on the phone a few times each day.  It was during one of those phone calls when Earle asked Shelby the question of a lifetime.  

“Shelby, will you marry me?” 

Shelby was so surprised, that at first, she thought Earle might be kidding.  But when he popped the question a second time, she knew his proposal was for real - and she quickly said yes. “And the rest is history,” she says.

All Roads Lead to Naples

As with many Florida residents, both Earle and Shelby began their lives in other parts of the country.  Originally from West Hartford, CT, Earle spent his career working as a sales and marketing executive in Montvale, NJ. After his retirement, he was hired back as a consultant specializing in governmental legislative work.

Shelby hails from the beautiful red clay hills of Tennessee, near Chattanooga. She worked in advertising until she left to start a family with her first husband.  Later, Shelby earned her MBA, often studying for her exams at 2:00 am so she could fully devote her days to her children.

After retiring to Florida, Earle acquired the Naples’ Town Hall Distinguished Speaker Series, which featured lectures by a host of dignitaries ranging from former Presidents and Prime Ministers to world-renowned writers.  Shelby finds ways to give back to the community through The League Club of Naples, a philanthropic organization of women affiliated with The Junior League, where she was a member for many years.

A New Beginning in a Beautiful Community

Happily, Shelby is no stranger to Moorings Park, as she has already spent a lot of time at her new home over the years enjoying the diverse array of activities the community has to offer.

“I have several friends who have invited me to interesting events and lectures through the years,” says Shelby. “They have movies and so many things to do. And they certainly have good food!” But first, she says, she has some work to do organizing her new home.  Earle smiles as he admits, “It’s been a bit of a bachelor’s pad for a few years.” 

The couple will exchange their vows in February, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Their wedding will take place at Trinity-by-the Cove Episcopal Church in Naples, followed by dinner with a small group of friends.  Earle says the couple will also host a larger celebration for family and friends later this year.

As their wedding day approaches, the pair admit they were surprised by the recent turn of events – but looking forward to sharing this new chapter of their lives. 

“We feel angels put us together,” says Shelby.  “We were great friends, but we think we had angels on both sides wanting us to be together.”  

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