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Couple unlawfully wed nearly 50 years

Published On: Dec 26 2012 08:09:39 AM CST
Updated On: Dec 26 2012 08:30:25 AM CST
Wedding, engagement rings

Cathy Kaplan/SXC

A Southern California couple spends nearly 50 years thinking they were married -- but they weren't.

Bob and Norma Clark discovered the alarming oversight while getting their end-of-life documents in order. Requesting a copy of their marriage license for Social Security purposes, they were surprised when clerks in San Mateo County came up empty, the Redlands Daily Facts reported.

The Clarks met in college and took their vows before friends and family at a San Francisco church in 1964.

They signed a marriage license, but their minister apparently never returned it to the clerk's office, where it becomes a marriage certificate, Los Angeles TV station KNBC reported.

To make things official, the Clarks had to bring in witnesses to the county records office.

Most of the people at their wedding had since died, but the couple managed to find their maid of honor and junior usher for the ceremony. Their son, Alex, also attended, according to KNBC.

"I got her a nice bouquet, and it was just a hoot," Bob Clark told the Redlands Daily Facts.

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