Exclusive: Former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell weds at 89

Former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition, and the former Sandra Gordy, exchanged vows in an intimate Wednesday afternoon ceremony at the Buckhead home they will now share. SEE THE WEDDING VIDEO BELOW.

Rev. Sam Candler, dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip, and The Temple Senior Rabbi Peter S. Berg, jointly officiated at the double-ring ceremony.

No one - not Gordy's sister Ginger Heath, not Massell's children Melanie Jacobs, Cindy Massell and Steve Massell, not any of their friends or business associates - knew about the ceremony ahead of time.

"I was afraid they’d talk her out of it," the genial Massell quipped.

AJC photo: Brant Sanderlin

Candler and Berg each offered prayers and pronounced their final blessing in unison. Massell's wedding ring was once Gordy's father's. Hers has a verse from the Song of Solomon inscribed in Hebrew.

They both teared up during the simple, beautiful ceremony.

Photo: Jennifer Brett

"We’re in the fourth quarter of life," said the bride, ravishing in a white dress she bought in Acapulco, never dreaming it would be a wedding gown one day.

"A lot of the best exciting events happen in that fourth quarter," her new husband said.

The two have been friends and business associates for more than 30 years.

"As far as deciding when to make it official, we haven’t decided yet. We’ve still got until 2 o’clock," the groom joked a few minutes before the wedding.

They haven't yet combined households.

"It’s a work in progress," the bride said.

AJC photo: Brant Sanderlin

Massell, 89, was widowed last year;  Doris Massell, his wife of more than 60 years, had  Alzheimer’s disease. Gordy, 70, was married once before, years ago.

Massell alerted the Atlanta Journal-Constitution a few days ahead of time, gleeful at sharing such a happy secret.

"It’s going to be a surprise to everyone," he said. We asked if there was a bachelor party in the offing. Answer: "I had one 63 years ago. That one will do it."

Here are some highlights of the wonderful event:

As for a honeymoon, the tireless Massell said he planned to take the rest of Wednesday off. The couple looks forward to a beach trip soon although the new Mrs. Massell noted it's really going to be more of a business trip.

And then? Who knows.

"It’s making me feel so young," Massell said. "This has energized me. In fact, I’m looking at the mayor’s race. I could get back in!"

The new couple is sending out announcements and requests no gifts. If well-wishers would like to make any sort of gesture, the Massells suggest considering a contribution to either the Cathedral or The Temple.

"We now have everything one could want," their announcement reads, "including each other."

The statue outside Mr. and Mrs. Massell's Buckhead home. Photo: Jennifer Brett


Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

About the Author

Jennifer Brett
Jennifer Brett
Jennifer Brett is a multiplatform journalist and digital coach. She writes The Buzz blog for accessAtlanta.com.