The Heartwarming Story Behind That Viral 'Handsome Grandpa' Photo

The Heartwarming Story Behind That Viral 'Handsome Grandpa' Photo


When Derek Schwendeman shared a vintage photograph of his grandfather on Reddit last week, he couldn't have predicted the storm of moony-eyed interest that would follow.

"It was very unexpected, but it's been a fun surprise," Schwendeman told KYW-TV of his grandpa's sudden viral fame.

Derek Schwendeman

The photograph, taken in 1950 just prior to the Schwendeman patriarch's deployment to Korea, has been viewed more than 3 million times to date. The Internet has been swooning over the dashing soldier, who's lovingly been dubbed the "handsome grandpa."

"In 1950, Korea witnessed the most sparkly white teeth to be ever seen by mankind," wrote one Reddit user.

"Holy shit your grandfather was hot," quipped another.

One interested netizen asked: "Is he single?"

Derek Schwendeman

Alas, news has emerged that the handsome grandpa, named Thomas, is a " happily married " man. In fact, the 86-year-old has been wed to his wife, Fleecie, for more than 60 years.

"My grandmother says since they married young, he didn't have much of a chance to 'sow his wild oats,' " Schwendeman told People magazine. "She told me that he has 'women fussing over him all of the time, but she got him first.'"

Thomas and Fleecie, who now live in Pennsylvania, married in October 1951, shortly after he completed basic training. Thomas was deployed to Korea in April the following year.

Derek Schwendeman

Schwendeman, 33, told BuzzFeed that his grandparents are still very much in love and stay active together. They continue to go bowling, which is how the couple first met all those many decades ago.

Schwendeman said his grandpa is "genuinely amazed over all of the excitement over this single picture." But it's his grandmother, who's "getting the biggest kick out of her husband's 'funny notoriety.'"

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