Edward and Sally Lebre were always the first couple on the dance floor.
Edward and Sally Lebre met on the dance floor, so it was only right that that’s where they spent so many of their 64 years of marriage.
“That first dance, he already asked for my telephone number and that he wanted to take me out,” Sally Lebre said of meeting Edward in 1951, one year before they married.
It was love at first sight, and they were inseparable. The pair was always the first on any dance floor, especially at the Portuguese American Cultural Center of Palm Coast.
“We didn’t do it to show off or show anybody we could dance,” she said. “It was just the two of us; the chemistry between the two of us was unbelievable. And if you talk to people who know us, they’re going to tell you this exactly the way I’m telling you.”
They danced through Edward’s final summer, walking off the floor for the last time on July 4. He died Aug. 29, 2016.
“It seems like it was yesterday to me,” she said. “The life that I had with Eddie was a life of traveling and dancing, since we retired in ours 50s. He was 55 when he retired. And we didn’t stop until he died.”
As Sally Lebre sat in her living room, nearly two years after Edward’s death, she clutched one of her two sparkling necklaces, each with a photo of Eddie in a pendant. The chair next to hers remained empty; it was his chair.
“When you’re together you take for granted so many things, but now, I realize how much he loved me — and how much of a beautiful life we had together.”
- SALLY LEBRE, Palm Coast resident
“It’s precious,” Sally Lebre said about her necklace. “It’s just the memory and the love that I have for him today; that will never go away — never, never, never, never. Even if I was a young person, believe me, I would never get another man in my life because that one was so precious and so good.”
Her Chihuahua named Princess sat on her lap and licked her face. Photos of Edward — some in his U.S. Army uniform and many of the two together — were arranged on tables around the living room. The refrigerator in the kitchen was covered with dozens of magnets, documenting many of their travels, including 55 cruises.
“When you’re together, you take for granted so many things, but now, I realize how much he loved me — and how much of a beautiful life we had together,” she said.
While Sally Lebre hasn’t gone back to cruising, she does stay involved with the Portuguese club, specifically with the Portuguese Rosary Society of Palm Coast. It’s there that friends like Maria Elizabeth Frazão Pereira got to know her and Edward over 12 years.
The Lebres moved to Palm Coast in 2000 from St. Augustine solely to be closer to the Portuguese club, Sally Lebre said.
Pereira spoke highly of Edward’s easygoing manner and constant smile.
“They had no children, and they went all over the world. And they lived for each other,” Pereira said. “They were very in tune with each other. He was a very agreeable person, and Sally is a go-getter, so if she would say, ‘Jump,’ he would say, ‘How high?’”
Sally Lebre said that after Edward’s heart attack in 2011, his memory started to dwindle, but he never forgot his dancing.
“With the help of God, he came through, and we cruised again,” she said. “Isn’t that something?”
She said she wished that everyone could have a marriage like hers with Edward, because “the world would be so happy.”
“He was the love of my life, and I was the love of his life — and that’s all there is to it,” she said.