A Cape Breton valentine: Love reunites couple apart for more than 40 years

Published on February 13, 2017

Angie Willems of Scotchtown relaxes at Dominion Beach, a favourite spot for her and former husband David Jowers of Haverhill, England, during a recent trip he made to Cape Breton to visit her. After being separated for more than 40 years the couple reunited after a chance meeting in a coffee shop and Willems is preparing to move back to England to marry him for a second time.

©Sharon Montgomery-Dupe/Cape Breton Post

SCOTCHTOWN, N.S. — Love always finds a way, even if it takes four decades.

In an extraordinary love story, Angie Willems, 61, of Scotchtown, is preparing to move to England to remarry her first husband David Jowers, 71, a man she had not seen or heard from in more than 40 years.
“I never in my wildest dreams thought we would be together again after all these years,” she said with a huge smile, while wiping a tear away. “To me, that’s the thing of fairy tales.”

Willems was born in London, England, and grew up in Haverhill, a town in Suffolk. She was only 17 years old when she met Jowers 44 years ago, who was 27 at the time and lived in a neighbouring town.

They married a year later and moved to Australia, but the marriage only lasted three years. Willems eventually moved to Ontario and Jowers went back to England.

“We were just too young and not ready for marriage.”

It’s incredible anyway, like a novel. David Jowers

Willems remarried in 1980 and had two children, but 25 years later the marriage ended. She eventually met a Cape Breton man and ended up moving to Cape Breton where they bought a house in Scotchtown.

Howeve,r a sudden breakup found her alone again in June 2015. She found the summer and fall difficult as she worked to pick up the pieces to her life. She had previously booked a flight to England for November for a month's visit with family and to take in her nephew’s wedding.

"The timing was good as I was going through a hard time and needed to get away."

She had a great time in London, but had no way of knowing on her last day there that her life would change forever.  She was quietly sitting in the Deja-vu coffee shop in Haverhill when all of a sudden Jowers walked by .

“I tapped on the window,” she said, admitting it was quite a shock to see him.

She said the connection was instant.

“We stayed together for an hour-and-a-half and talked non-stop.”

She found out Jowers had also remarried, but it hadn’t lasted long and he had been alone for about 10 years.

Willems said they started texting every day and then after about five weeks began making little calls to each other.

"We have been in touch every single day since I came back from that holiday.”

In a phone call from Haverhill, Jowers said on the day in question as he was walking by the coffee shop when he spotted someone sitting inside smiling at him.

“I looked over my shoulder wondering who she was smiling at.”

Seeing no one behind him, he opened the door and stuck his head around the corner.

“Within a second I just took a big gasp and said, ‘Angie,” he said.

 “It was amazing as we hadn’t had a chat in over 40 years.”

They had a quick goodbye kiss and went opposite ways. He kept turning around to see if by chance she was doing the same.

“We exchanged telephone numbers and email addresses but I knew at this point I had to see her again,” he added.

In May 2016 Jowers traveled to Cape Breton and stayed for a month.

Jowers said when the pair were together 40 years ago they were both young.

“She use to be in my mind but I never thought I’d see her again.”

Forty years later, he said he's convinced this is going to work.

“It feels right it really does," he said. "It’s incredible anyway, like a novel.”   

Willems said after the first trip Jowers made to Cape Breton, the couple knew there was something real between them.

 “He told me he always had a torch for me and there were times he was even tempted to come over to find me,” she said, adding, " I would think of him on occasion over the years as well.'"

Jowers returned to Cape Breton in November for another month.

They were in the food court at Tim Hortons in the Mayflower Mall when he proposed over a tea and a coffee.

“He said, ‘This isn’t the most romantic way, but do you want to get married again?’”

Jowers wanted to buy a ring right then, but Willems was so overwhelmed with happiness that she wanted to go home and said they’d get it another time.

"The next morning I told him, ‘Okay I'm ready now,’” she added ,laughing.

While dealing with this remarkable reunion Willems got another surprise on March 12, 2016, when her ticket was drawn at the Ashby Chase the Ace. She was actually one of the two people who had identical tickets — organizers discovered duplicates were sold accidently — and after not drawing the ace ended up giving both ticket holders the consolation of $229,230 each.

RELATED: Chase the Ace rocked by two winning tickets

However, she said Jowers was the prize that changed her life. She has sold her home and all her belongings and on March 6 will be boarding an airplane to her new life.

“I just know it's right deep in my heart.'"

In the meantime they do have plans for Valentine's Day, even though they are an ocean apart.

“I sent him a card and I'm pretty sure one's coming for me,” she said.

“Although we talk every day, we'll be spending extra time on the phone Tuesday.”