Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

He Recovers from Stroke to Officiate Granddaughter's Wedding

It was always Ashley Watkins’ dream to have her grandfather perform her wedding ceremony — but a serious illness almost got in the way.

Photos by 21 Moments


When Ashley Watkins thought about her wedding day, she always imagined her grandfather would marry her. He’s a pastor and a veteran, so she pictured him in full military dress performing the ceremony in front of all of her family and friends.

She started dating her now-husband, Keved White, when she was just 14, so the plan was in place for a long time.

Then, three years ago, her grandfather had a stroke.

“It completely took away all his memory, his speech — he didn’t even know any of his family members’ names,” Ashley says. “It was really, really bad in the very beginning.”


But he worked tirelessly with speech therapists at California University of Pennsylvania to relearn everything, and to practice for the wedding, which was held at Foggy Mountain Lodge in Stahlstown, Westmoreland County; Ashley says it was a perfect rustic venue she and Keved discovered on one of their annual trips to Fort Ligonier Days.

“He asked me, I want to say three or four times, ‘Are you sure you want me to do this?’” Ashley says. “I told my Pap, ‘I don’t care if you get every single word wrong I just want it to be you that’s doing it.’”

By the time Sept. 23, 2017 came, her Pap was ready.

“They wrote everything out for him in a big binder so he could flip through pages as he was doing the ceremony,” Ashley says. “My aunt was actually my maid of honor, and she was standing next to him, helping him turn the page, kind of whispering in his ear if he would get stuck on a word.”


Toward the end, he couldn’t quite get out the words: “You may now kiss the bride,” so Ashley just grabbed Keved and kissed him, and he lifted her off of the ground in an embrace.

“It was one of those moments that didn’t go exactly as you planned, but it was actually better in the long run,” Ashley says.


Watch This

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

For Three Days, Sesame Street Will be in Pittsburgh

Kids can join Big Bird, Elmo and more Muppets as Sesame Workshop plans three days of events during a stop in Pittsburgh in June.

Penguins’ Lament: ‘To an Extent We Beat Ourselves’

The answer to a self-inflicted postseason sweep must begin with getting the players and their coach back on the same page regarding what’s required for survival in the playoffs.

Picklesburgh to Double in Size for Its Fifth Year

Nation’s top speciality food festival to spill out onto Ft. Duquesne Boulevard.

A Look at The Latest Restaurant Openings in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh says hello to Alta Via, Leo. A Public House, a new Milk Shake Factory location and more.

Is Your Pittsburgh Street on This Year's Road Repaving List?

The City of Pittsburgh has announced its street paving plan for 2019. You’re one click away from finding out if your street or route to work is on the list.

Downtown Pittsburgh Remains a Classic Rock Haven

PM intern Amanda Myers recounts the radio-rock adventures that life as a Downtown student has made possible.

The 400-Word Review: Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

The latest chapter in the Hong Kong martial-arts franchise gets a Pittsburgh release.

The 400-Word Review: The Curse of La Llorona

The latest chapter in the Conjuring franchise concerns a sinister spirit from folklore.

Details Shine in Metallic Hip-Hop Wedding

A graffiti-decorated cake, a sequined jacket for the groom and a violinist playing hip-hop covers wowed guests at this Strip District wedding.

New Restaurants Coming to Smallman Galley and Federal Galley

Look for New Mexican cuisine, customizable chicken and more as half of the Pittsburgh Galley Group concepts change in the next few months.

Design Goes to the Dogs with BARKitecture

Featuring innovative indoor animal shelters designed by local architects and artists going up for auction, the event at PerLora raises money for Animal Friends.

The 400-Word Review: Hellboy

The cult comic character gets a reboot in this R-rated action flick.

5 Best Spots to Hang Out with Your Dog

For those who can’t stand the idea of leaving their dogs home alone on a beautiful day, these dog-friendly stores, restaurants and bars in the Pittsburgh area welcome humans and canines alike.

The 400-Word Review: The Silence

Netflix's new horror film has a plot unfortunately similar to a giant hit. Can it succeed in spite of that bit of bad luck?

Popular Fried Chicken and Beer Hall Landing in Pittsburgh

The Cincinnati-based restaurant has signed a lease for a 6,000-square-foot space Downtown.