Woman Spots a Homeless Man Rifling through Her Trash, Marries Him 42 Years Later

Dayna Remus
Jan 19, 2022
07:40 P.M.
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A severely mentally ill man found himself on the streets and had completely given up on life. He had no idea of the great love that was coming for him.


Homeless and rummaging through the trash, in 1975, Ken Selway had reached a point in his life where he was contemplating suicide

Luckily for him, an angel was waiting in the wings. Beyond Joan Neininger helping him, neither had any clue what awaited them in 42 years.

Ken Selway and Joan Neininger [main]; Pictures of Ken Selway and Joan Neininger at a younger age [inset]. | Source:



Selway was born in London but evacuated to Wales. He returned home upon hearing about the death of the man he viewed as his father.

Sadly, his biological mother could not cope with her son's psychiatric issues, leaving him to fend for himself on the streets. 


Homeless and making his way to Gloucester, where he attempted to find family connected to his natural father, he stopped nearby a bookshop to look through bins.

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This shop belonged to the woman who would change his life forever. Thinking about the moment she saw the homeless man rummaging through the bin, the bookshop owner, Neininger, recollected

"The first time I saw him searching for food in a rubbish bin, I silently broke my heart.”

The mother-of-three began to leave sandwiches out for him by the bins, eventually inviting him in for supper with herself and her former husband, Norman.



Selway's schizophrenia was a challenge, but Neininger convinced him to take medication. Once this issue was solved, she, her spouse, and their new friend resided together. Neininger said:

“Because there was no sexual jealousy, it was fine, and Ken and Norman were like brothers. It was like a little paradise – just Ken, Norman, and me.”

However, this heaven of theirs was cut short when Norman died, leaving the elderly woman and her lifelong companion to fend for themselves



Unexpectedly, love bloomed between the two companions, and at 88 years old in 2017, Neininger married an 89-year-old Selway. The bookshop owner recalled

"I asked him: 'If I asked you to marry me, would you?' And he laughed. He thought it was so funny. And then he nodded."

The elderly woman claimed she also wanted to get wed to ensure they could get placed in the same residential home and be together.



Sadly, their marriage didn't last long when, in 2019, Neininger's second husband died of pneumonia. Selway's wife expressed

"I loved him. He was a lovely man, and we just suited each other. I will miss the companionship and the laughter. He could be such good fun at times."

From homelessness to mental illness, sometimes, all a person needs is a little bit of assistance. Selway got this — and a lot more. 



One mother's homeless daughter, an addict, was also in dire need of help, but the distraught mom could not find her anywhere. 

Her child Alice Crawford had fled from rehab. After months of searching, the family and mother, Jill Rosenow, could not locate her.

Then, one day, Rosenow watched Denver's 9News, where they talked to individuals living on the streets. Astoundingly, her daughter appeared on the screen. 

Alice Crawford surrounded by snow [left], Jill Rosenow with her daughter, Alice Crawford and her family [right] | Photo:



Now, the family knew where to find their lost-yet-beloved relative, which they did. Following this, Crawford spent time in a mental health institution, then checked into rehab, with her mom claiming that's she was now enjoying sobriety.

With the help of those around them, Crawford and Selway managed to turn their lives around, demonstrating the insurmountable power of compassion. 

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The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at


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