How Marty met Ila

How Marty met Ila

BY LEAH HAKIMIAN

Is there life after the death of a spouse? For the bereaved, the answer is a black-and-white “no. ” But life is often surprising and provides more than one round of happiness. Take, for example, Marty Schulman and his bride, Ila Manner, who recently returned from a white-water rafting trip in Jamaica.

Ila Manner had many good things in her life – a happy marriage, two children, a successful jewelry business, a boat, and an active civic life. One of her neighbors in Katonah, New York, was Martha Stewart. Then at the age of 51, Ila was left a widow and felt empty.

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Marty Schulman, too, had many good things in his life – a happy marriage, two children, two grandchildren, a boat, a summer home, an active life in the Jewish community and the profits from the sale of a successful company. Then, at the age of 65, Marty was left a widower and felt empty.

Ila coped by throwing herself into her work. She spent more time with her celebrity clientele at her Westchester store, Ila Manners Jewelers and Design Studio; and she spent more time working as VP of the Katonah Chamber of Commerce. But it wasn’t enough. In due time, her children suggested that she sign up for jdate.

“I was terrified, ” recalls Ila. But her daughter, Kari, persisted and posted her mom’s profile.

Ila knew exactly what she wanted: A Jewish man who kept kosher; lived within a 40-mile radius of Katonah; who loved to travel and shared her love of fishing and boating. She wanted to find a man to love and to marry. But she would only look for a widower. “No divorc és for me, ” she said.

Dr. Helen Friedman, a clinical psychologist in private practice in St. Louis, suggests the following: “Some widows prefer to date widowers because they want to marry a man who, like themselves, had a successful marriage–one that ended in death, not divorce. They figure that widowers may have a more positive view of marriage and want the closeness that they once had. “

Twenty men met Ila’s criteria – on paper. But only one man met her criteria in-person: Marty Schulman. “There was instant rapport when we first talked on the phone, ” recalls Marty. And the connection continued when they met for their first date – at a boat show.

“Some of my friends thought that a 13-year age difference was too great, but they were wrong, ” relates Ila. “I thought Marty was a hunk. In addition, he was lovable, honest, sincere, ethical, energetic, had a wonderful sense of humor; and a great sense of adventure. “

They met at the end of September, 2002. In December, 2002, Marty introduced her to his family and friends. “Ila is easy to love. She is lovable, bubbly, warm, and caring. She is totally spontaneous. Once she was driving me to the airport and when I told her about the best-ever ice cream they had in Florida – on the spot – she decided to fly with me. Ila is a unique gem! “

Ila believes in the art of compromise. For 38 years she had worked in the jewelry business – as designer, gemologist, and retailer. Producers of the movie “Ice Age ” wore her jewelry to the Academy Awards. Yet, Marty wanted her to sell her store, so that she could spend more time traveling with him. They worked out the following compromise – Ila sold her Westchester store, but opened a new shop, Golddiggers, which is open four months a year on Block Island, a boater’s paradise off the coast of Rhode Island.

Ila and Marty know how to make things work. That was Marty’s success as an inventor and entrepreneur. Though he had never worn a wedding band, he was thrilled to accept Ila’s gift of an 18k yellow gold wedding band she herself designed – with 18k white gold striped bass fish encircling the band. Ila found the way to a fisherman’s heart.

In their travels, Ila is comfortable talking with barefoot children in a Moroccan village and with Wall Street execs. In her store, she is happy selling $8 charms and $100,000 earrings. Ila is a woman happy with life, in general, and with her life, in particular.

Together Ila and Marty feel that they are blessed – a happy marriage, 4 children, 2 grandchildren, a boat, a summer home, lots of travel, and an active life in their Conservative Synagogue, Or Shalom. “I thank my lucky stars for Marty, ” says Ila.

Ila and Marty were married August 27, 2006. Mazal tov!

Read past installments of Leah Hakimian’s column, ‘Godsend’

How Larry met Shelley

How David met Luba

How Aaron met Cynthia

How Zali met Michal

How Hadi met Rosa

How Richard met Talia

How Yuvi met Rachel

How Shai met Liora

How Dov met Miriam

How Aaron met Jennifer

How Simon met Rhea

How Dan met Simone

How Phil met Julie

How Michael met Amy

How Zvi met Daphna

How George met Leora