By JENNIFER PETERS
Less than six weeks before her long-awaited wedding, Lynette Kuhlman lost her father.
OBSERVER Photo by Jennifer Peters
Lynette and Rob Jennings share their first kiss as husband and wife.
Carl Kuhlman of Dunkirk died suddenly on June 6. The close-knit family was stricken by grief in what was supposed to be a time of joy and celebration.
"I'm glad though that her dad knew she was settled and going to have a good life," said Donna Kulhman, Carl's wife of 60 years.
As his family mourned his passing in those final weeks leading up to the wedding, they decided to dedicate the ceremony to the bride's father.
The couple chose a summer day at the beach, a very befitting way to honor Carl. The ceremony at Point Gratiot was planned for July 14.
"Even though he's not there, I want to keep him part of the entire wedding," Lynette said. "The beach has always been a solitude for me, and my dad loved the beach, too, and he and my mom lived right on Point Gratiot."
A graduate of Dunkirk High School, Lynette, 47, always had a dream of being by the water, where she spent her childhood, on her wedding day. Then-fiance Rob Jennings, 44, grew up in Manlius, just outside of Syracuse.
They found much of what they were looking for with the wedding on the Internet. They ordered decorations like seashells and sand dollars, along with her gown and his tuxedo. To go with the beach theme, friends and family, along with groomsmen, wore Hawaiian shirts.
Family is very important to the couple, so they wanted their family included in the wedding as much as possible. Lynette's aunt and uncle, Rollin and Yvonne Fancher, were the wedding priests.
Carl made walking sticks and canes, and at the ceremony, his canes were arranged to set up the aisle the couple walked down. Right after the ceremony, everyone in the bridal party grabbed a cane on the way out.
A table that Carl had crafted was also there during the ceremony in his honor. Sand was placed on the table with beach glass.
Lynette and Rob shared their first dance to Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love" at the reception that followed at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club.
The couple both earned two-year business degrees in Jamestown - Lynette at Jamestown Business College and Rob at Jamestown Community College, later getting his bachelor's degree in business management at Houghton College. They did not meet until nearly two decades later when they worked together at Lowe's in Warren, Pa., and everything seemed to fall in place at that time.
"We dated for almost three years," Lynette said. "We just clicked so well, and you just know when it's the person it's supposed to be. When there was a job to get done we both pitched in and worked well together, and that's what I think started everything."
They currently live together in Warren, with five cats and two dogs. Lynette has been the department manager of electronics at Lowe's for five years, and Rob is the internal audit manager at the United Refinery, and has worked there for 24 years.
"It's never too late to find the right one," Lynette said. "This was just the final thing left to make it all official."
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