Several generations of family and friends gathered to celebrate the 90th birthdays Frank Gray and Ada Hatch, who married five years ago. Hatch is pictured with her granddaughter Heather Alley, left, and son Dana Hatch. PHOTO COURTESY OF LENA HATCH

‘Let’s grow old together’: Joint 90th birthday party a surprise

BAR HARBOR — Five years after getting married at age 85, high school sweethearts Frank Gray and Ada Hatch are passing a new milestone: turning 90 together.

Both Frank and Ada have birthdays in November, and will turn 90 just 15 days apart, explained Ada’s daughter-in-law Lena Hatch. The family wanted to throw them a surprise birthday party, and the family figured the best way to do that would be to hold the party at a time they wouldn’t expect.

“Both of them are super smart,” Hatch said, so the family tried to “outsmart them by having it a couple months early.” The timing also coincided with visits from out-of-town family members.

The double-birthday party was held at Church of Our Father in Hulls Cove, where Ada has been a member for almost 70 years. The cakes were made by local baker Janice Strout.

About 120 family and friends were in attendance, and the party was a “complete surprise” to the couple of honor, Hatch said.

Frank and Ada were students at the former Bar Harbor High School in 1946 when they caught each other’s eye. Frank had grown up in Hulls Cove, while Ada moved to the area from her home on Route 9 way Downeast so she could go to school, just as her siblings had done. The pair liked each other a lot, but separated six months or so into their relationship due to what Ada called “a misunderstanding.”

The two stayed friendly over the years. Each married and had their own families. Frank and his wife raised two boys, while Ada and her husband nurtured four boys and three girls. They would see each other here and there, say “hello.” Still, Frank said, “There’s always been kind of a warm feeling towards her.”

After both were widowed, Frank called Ada on the phone and asked her to supper. From that first date, at Helen’s Restaurant, the couple began their second romance: enjoying regular swims at the YMCA, shopping, spending time and shoveling snow together. Eventually the two decided to marry, tying the knot on Valentine’s Day, 2015.

Becky Pritchard
Former Islander reporter Becky Pritchard covered the town of Bar Harbor and was a park ranger in Acadia for six seasons.
Becky Pritchard

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