French cosmetologist Roger Kato did a perfect makeover in the life of nurse Evelyn Edwards after she answered a personal ad that described the man of her dreams.
Roger was born in Paris and was originally a tanner by trade, helping convert sheepskins into gloves and purses. He was responsible for mixing dyes, a process at which he excelled. At 21 he was invited to visit the U.S. to teach the method to workers in a factory at Gloversville, N.Y.
When World War II made it impossible to get dyes from Germany, Roger joined his Swiss aunt in her salon on 5th Avenue in New York City. They made their own creams and did face lifts by massage. Roger became a registered cosmetologist and the sign on their salon read "Rogier of Paree." They moved the business to Miami in 1950 and remained there until Roger retired at the age of 40.
Moving to St. Petersburg, Fla., he bought homes, fixed them up and sold them. He then studied to become a respiratory therapist and became supervisor of respiratory therapy at St. Petersburg General Hospital, retiring at age 65. Evelyn, a native of Gary, Ind., lost her first husband during World War II. She remarried but lost her second husband in 1978. She continued working as a nurse while raising two daughters, Jaclyn, now of Wichita, and Samar, Oklahoma City. She continued working as a nurse in Orlando until retiring at the age of 80. She taught nursing, traveled extensively as a motivational speaker, and taught Bible classes for 50 years. She is the author of "A Virtuous Woman...Who Can Find One?"
After she answered the ad, Roger called her three weeks later and the rest, as they say, is history. They married in 1984 and lived in the Tampa Bay area. For a while they managed a motel on the beach where they enjoyed early morning walks and the evening sunsets over the water.
"We've had a togetherness that makes a full life and an enjoyable one, too," Evelyn smiles. As a girl, Evelyn says she used to sit twice through Maurice Chevalier movies just to hear him say "I love you" in his French accent. "I never dreamed I'd one day marry a romantic Frenchman, enjoy a month-long honeymoon in Paris and on the French Riviera, and hear those very words said the same way."