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Eugene Woodworth Dies Days After His Marriage In Washington State

OPB | Dec. 23, 2013 4:06 p.m. | Updated: Dec. 24, 2013 8:01 a.m. | Portland

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An Oregon man who recently married his partner of 60 years in hopes of passing on his Social Security benefits has died.

Eugene Woodworth and Eric Marcoux were married at Clark County Courthouse earlier this month.

The couple met through a mutual friend in 1953. Eugene was a professional ballet dancer, and Eric had just left a Catholic monastery. Eugene later became an in-house repairman for Tektronix, while Eric taught art and Tibetan Buddhism.

The couple met through a mutual friend in 1953. Eugene was a professional ballet dancer, and Eric had just left a Catholic monastery. Eugene later became an in-house repairman for Tektronix, while Eric taught art and Tibetan Buddhism.

Dan Sadowsky / OPB

The two met sixty years ago in Chicago. And while they’d been married twice before in religious ceremonies, they were hoping for a legal marriage in Oregon.

But Woodworth was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and given just weeks to live. They didn’t have time to see how the political process around gay marriage would play out in Oregon.

Instead, they married just over the state line in Washington, with the hope that Marcoux will receive Social Security benefits as a surviving spouse.

At the courthouse on the day of their wedding, Marcoux said there was a sadness knowing his husband’s life was coming to an end.

“But years ago I told myself this is the tax we pay on love, and I’m glad to be able to pay it,” Marcoux said.

Woodworth passed away on Saturday. He was 85.

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