HONOLULU — Six days a week, World War II veteran Ted Richardson visits the Honolulu gravesite of his wife at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. He takes three buses from his Waikiki apartment to get there, but for the 93-year-old, it is a pilgrimage he enjoys.
"I always tell her when I go up there, 'Payback time,'" Richardson told KGMB.
Richardson is usually the first visitor when the cemetery opens at 6:30 a.m., the television station reported. He has visited his wife’s grave more than 1,300 times.
"Payback" is usually in the form of flowers, which he lays on the grave of Florence McBride Richardson, who died in 2013. The couple was together for 72 years after meeting in their Pennsylvania town in 1941, KGMB reported. Richardson was 16 and Florence was 14.
"I was standing in the hall. The classes were changing and I saw a beautiful girl," Richardson told KGMB. "I went home and told my daddy that night I saw the girl I was going to marry."
Richardson joined the Marines in 1942 and rose to the rank of corporal during World War II. He told the television station he carried Florence’s photograph everywhere.
"She was beautiful. I didn't mind looking at her all the time," Richardson said.
They married after the war and had a son, Ted Jr.
Florence worked as a school librarian until her retirement. The couple moved to Hawaii in the 1970s, KGMB reported.
During the time he knew Florence, Richardson said he never heard her say a bad word.
“For 72 years she lost her temper only once — in 72 years! And it was my fault,” Richardson told the television station.
Richardson turns 94 in January and said he will continue visiting his wife as long as his health allows him.
"I'll keep going as long as I can go. God will tell me when I've had enough," Richardson told KGMB.
Richardson already has planned ahead. He arranged to have fresh flowers brought to her grave once a month after his death, the television station reported.