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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, May 9, 2004

Love blooms again for longtime family friends

By Tanya Bricking Leach
Advertiser Staff Writer

The families of Linda Kop Lee (now Linda Lee Ho) and Cenric Ho were friends for decades before the two married on Valentine's Day.

Photo courtesy of Ho family

After Linda Kop Lee's husband died of cancer in 1998, Cenric Ho and his wife would call periodically to check up on her.

The couples were family friends from way back. The men had been pals in a Chinese cultural fraternity. Lee's husband, Hyrum, had been Ho's best man four decades earlier. They socialized and golfed together, and their children became friends.

So when Ho's wife, Marcia, died two years ago after a long battle with cancer, it was only natural that Lee returned the favor and called Ho to extend her sympathy.

Through their grief, they rediscovered joy.

"They just met again on the golf course, and it just kind of grew," said Melba Kop, Lee's sister-in-law. "Everyone in the golfing community knows them. It's such a happy story."

One day, Ho called Lee out of the blue and asked her on a date. She said she wasn't sure if she remembered what to do on a date. But they met for breakfast at the Pearl Country Club and found they enjoyed each other's company and had a lot in common.

"I was very impressed with her deep sense of family," Ho said. He also liked that, like himself, she was avidly interested in fitness, golf and going to church.

Soon, he asked her on more dates: Sunset Beach to watch the sun go down, Makapu'u Point to see the full moon rise.

By last September, Ho was ready to propose, so he took the advice of his children about how to do it. He took her to lunch at Ko Olina, and he pulled out a ring.

"During the soup course," he said, "I asked her, 'Will you marry me on Valentine's Day next year?' "

"I asked if he was serious," Lee recalls. He was, and she accepted.

They married Feb. 14 at the Honolulu Country Club. The bride is now Linda Lee Ho. They live in Pearl City.

The groom's son, Jonathan Ho, was his best man, and the bride's daughter, Rhonda Higashihara, was her matron of honor. Her two sons, Reynold and Regan Lee, walked her down the aisle, and her grandchildren served as ring bearer and flower girl. All 14 immediate family members sat at the head table.

"You've heard of the Brady Bunch. We call ours the 'Ho-Lee' bunch," the 63-year-old bride said. "I never thought this wonderful thing would happen in this stage of life."

The groom, 66, a retired administrator of the Hawai'i Public Employees Health Fund, said he now knows what's important in life. And the important things include playing golf with his new bride, a retired school teacher, at least twice a month.

"The second time around, you're much more considerate," he said. "You try to focus on your family, your friends and your church. All the material things, that's just what they are. When you lose a loved one, there's a big void. I'm lucky to find love again."

Tanya Bricking Leach writes about relationships for The Advertiser. If you'd like her to tell your love story next, send the details to tbricking@honoluluadvertiser.com or call her at 525-8026.