Ain’t  love  grand
Three couples discuss how they met and their relationship dynamics. Top left are Brian and Jennine Egan, top right are Shirley and Robert Deedy, and below center, Michael and Jessica Baker with newborn Mackenzie

ADV/Leuzzi, Rohrbacker

Ain’t love grand


Married 72 years: Robert and Shirley Deedy



Robert and Shirley Deedy were both born in Patchogue, attended the Patchogue School District, married in St. Francis de Sales R.C. Church and have two children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. They’ve lived in the same house in Patchogue since 1950; Robert Deedy, also a Lions Club member, celebrated his 70th year with the North Patchogue Fire Department and is a former commissioner. (He was headed to the North Patchogue Fire Department — where attempts to solve world problems are discussed — after the interview.) They summered with the family at Whalehouse Point on Fire Island for 20 years and are 40-year members of the Domino Yacht Club in East Patchogue. Shirley raised the children, maintained the house and volunteered with the North Patchogue Fire Department Ladies’ Auxiliary. Robert worked for Bell Telephone before he retired.

Where they met: They were classmates (Robert is older). He had just gotten out of the Navy after a World War II assignment on a minesweeper when they connected. Shirley, who worked for the Bell Telephone Company as a rep in the business office, was a regular card player at Rose Petrallia’s house and Robert was invited to join. “After that, I broke a date and took her to the movies in Bay Shore,” Robert recalled. They dated after that for a year before marriage.

Best qualities: “I thought he was a great guy,” Shirley said. “And whatever we did was fun.” It was a simpler, more enjoyable time that included movies, rides on Sundays and digging for clams. “We always got along,” Robert reports.

Their Valentine’s Day date: They go out to dinner, usually at the Domino Yacht Club. Some humor emerged next. “I never bought you a Valentine or a birthday present,” Robert said candidly. 

“It’s a wonder I didn’t put him out the door,” joked Shirley. 

“But I always said, ‘buy what you want,’” Robert countered. 

The secret to their success: “I give her a lot of space,” said Robert. They also have earphones for the two television sets in their den. And they have a cocktail every night before dinner.

What keeps them young: “Our family keeps us young,” said Robert. “We were so lucky, our kids never got into trouble. And they invite us to everything.” Their son, Robert Jr., lives at the Jersey Shore, and their daughter, Susan Brennan, in The Vineyards in Blue Point. A grandson lives in Patchogue and a granddaughter in East Quogue. 


Married 13 years: Brian and Jennine Egan 



Jennine and Brian Egan are another example of what makes this country great. Jennine’s mother was born in Sicily and immigrated here after World War II. Jennine’s father, who began his life in Brooklyn, is of Sicilian heritage; her parents married and settled in Holbrook. Brian’s family was one of the first dozen settlers to come to Long Island in 1641; the Egans settled in Patchogue in the late 19th century. Brian has been Patchogue Village’s attorney for over 10 years, a partner in Egan & Golden for 15 years and before that was a partner in Pelletreau and Pelletreau LLP, both in Patchogue. Jennine has spent her entire career in healthcare and currently works at Catholic Health Services as system director in the office of managed care. They parent bulldogs Spencer and Mabel.

Where they met: “In court,” said Jennine. “I was a witness in a property dispute and Brian’s first firm was trying the case.” When she first met Brian in person with his client, “I was expecting this elderly man and when I turned the corner, there was Brian. He wasn’t even 30 at the time.” Brian recalls, “then you had to testify and I waited for you after the court case and we had cocktails.” They were together for three years before they married.

Best qualities: “When we first met, it was very natural — we talked for a long time,” recalled Jennine. “I think it’s not just one thing. We have a lot of similar interests, some not.” She indulges Brian’s historical interests, including visiting up to five churches in one locale. ”But it’s always easy together.” Brian admires Jennine’s strength and commitment “with everything she’s involved with, including family and me,” he said. 

Their Valentine’s Day date: “We’re joining another couple and going to Wild Side Organic Bistro & Bar in Oakdale,” said Brian.

The secret to their success: “It’s a full-time job,” said Jennine of their nurturing of each other. “Once you put it on auto pilot, you’re in trouble. But aside from loving each other, we like each other.”

What keeps them connected: “Our house in Davis Park, where we go in the summer,” said Brian of their nine-year retreat. “Jennine loves it.” 

“So do the dogs,” Jennine said of the two adorables, who sense when the weekend comes so they can climb into the family launch. No TV. “It’s warm, we’re outside,” said Brian. “The sunrises and sunsets are the biggest and best TVs you can buy.” 


Married 3 1/2 years: Michael and Jessica Baker  



Neither Michael nor Jessica Baker was born or raised on Long Island, but their paths connected at the Gateway Playhouse, where they have continued to grow their family since meeting in 2011. Michael, director of the acting school at Gateway Playhouse, and Jessica, an employee of Edward Jones investments in Patchogue, bought a house in East Patchogue after living in Bellport for a few years. There is also a new addition to the family - Mackenzie Baker, who was born on Jan. 24 and will be three weeks old on Valentine’s Day. She was born just a few weeks after the Bakers moved in and, along with their dog Lucy, who they adopted two years ago from her previous owner who passed away, are working to make the house home. 

Where they met: Both Bakers were actors (and continue to perform) when they met at the Gateway in 2011. Jessica had a boyfriend at the time, but said there was an instant connection that started to blossom. After only one date, the two decided they were right for each other and started dating officially. Michael Baker is originally from a town outside of Seattle and moved to Long Island to attend C.W. Post. Jessica was raised in central New Jersey, went to school in Boston, and then moved to New York City before being brought to Long Island to perform.

Best qualities: Michael and Jessica are very different people, they both agree, and said that is what makes them work so well. Michael is more spontaneous and “a dreamer” and Jessica is more practical and realistic. The couple balances out, they said. Above that, the two have been supportive of one another throughout their relationship. Michael had been taking care of Jessica while she was pregnant, and Jessica took care of Michael during two back surgeries. 

Valentine’s Day date: The couple usually goes out to dinner at Teller’s in West Islip, or they have also gone to Atlantic City for a getaway, but Mackenzie has changed those plans. This year, the special day will be celebrated most likely with a takeout dinner and a movie at home.

How the new baby has changed things: Michael and Jessica say they’ve grown closer since Mackenzie was born, and even during the pregnancy. “It was something to [focus on] together,” Michael said. “It solidified things.” Jessica said that she was lucky to have a person like Michael, who is so supportive and helpful. They both acknowledge that the focus of things — of life — shifts when a baby is born. Less material things matter and family takes precedence.