True Love Stories: From new parents to 70 years of marriage |

True Love Stories: From new parents to 70 years of marriage

Two stars in the night — the Crowells

If you ever wondered what it was like to fall in love at first sight, Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell knows by first-hand experience.

Back in 1968, as a 23-year-old student at Stanford University, Crowell was drafted into Navy school and was assigned to serve in Vietnam.

On New Year’s Eve, Crowell wanted to spend the remaining time he had left with his then-girlfriend from Fresno, by celebrating it in San Francisco.

But plans quickly changed; the fog was dense that night and there was no way she was going to be able to do a three-hour drive to the bay area.

She felt horrible she couldn’t spend one last special night with Crowell before he left, but she knew of somebody already in the city that braved the drive.

It was her roommate, Susan, 25.

“When she answered the door, I could tell something was there,” Crowell said. “I remember vividly her hair and outfit. She was beautiful.”

He just met this woman and is already overcome by her presence. In a quick decision, he starts off the night by taking Susan to a Chinese restaurant in town.

When she cracked open her fortune cookie, the message she received was something to smile about on her first day with Crowell, whom she just met hours ago.

But little did they both know that slip of paper really did determine their future.

“She won’t admit this, but when she cracked open that fortune cookie, it said ‘You’ll meet the person you marry tonight’,” Crowell said. “Somehow, I lucked out.”

Crowell and Susan didn’t let distance prevail their love; they stayed in contact while Crowell served in Vietnam.

When he returned to attend Hastings College of the Law, they married immediately in 1971.

“I lucked out on that blind date,” he said. “She’s beautiful, she’s intelligent, she takes care of herself and she’s independent.”

As for Crowell’s former flame? Crowell introduced her to a sail mate and they got married around the same time. In fact, all four occasionally went on double dates together.

But what strengthened love over time for Crowell’s were pure commitment and an open-mind for each other.

“You have to understand people have different opinions,” he said. “But by the end of the day, you have to appreciate and remember what they have done. They don’t tell you things to hurt you—they tell you thinks to help you realize it.”

After they married, Crowell received an invitation to be a part of the Admirals Aide at Guantanamo Bay.

He called up his father at his law office for advice.

“I asked him what I should do and he said the decision was up to me,” he said.

Crowell and Susan had a moment of introspection as they sat on the dock together, watching the sun go down. Susan was determined about law school and it didn’t take long for Crowell to make a final decision.

Together, they attended Hastings and graduated in 1973. Shortly after, they moved back to Carson City, bought a house, and raised four children.

This also was something for Susan to get used to.

“She is a city girl,” he said. “It took her a while to get used to it out here, but now she loves it.”

“What she’s done is not forgotten,” Crowell said. “There’s a rough time in every marriage but you have to look back at why you got married. I tear up about it. I couldn’t have been luckier. I’d be just the opposite.”

After 44 years, the one thing Mayor Bob Crowell says about his marriage with Susan is this: “Thank God for the tule fog.”

For all eternity — the Bouviers

Carson City resident Marshall Bouvier is planning to spend Valentine’s Day with his wife, Elizabeth, at the same place he’s been meeting her for the last nine years—her grave at Walton’s Chapel of the Valley cemetery on Roop Street.

But for Bouvier, it’s not a place to mourn; it’s place of peace after 20 years of marriage.

“We married New Year’s Eve of 1996,” he said. “We wanted to have the weekend together since nobody works the day after. We got married at a chapel in Reno.”

Bouvier didn’t expect to meet the love of his life at an Alcoholic Anonymous meeting in Reno. Romance bloomed when they locked eyes across the room. Shortly after the meeting, they talked on the phone for hours.

“I told her she was my favorite,” he said. “We were opposites, but that’s what I loved about us. I was shy and she was outgoing. She befriended people within 20 minutes.”

After kicking off 1997 by exchanging vows, the couple had two children together; Nicole and Beau.

But in 2008, that all changed for the entire family. Elizabeth had met somebody in Moses Lake, Washington – and was brutally murdered by that person in the state, shortly after the visit.

Two weeks later after her death, Bouvier arranged her funeral, with beloved friends and family singing her favorite hymn, “Amazing Grace”.

“Most people don’t find true love,” Marshall said. “I didn’t get to have it for as long as I wanted, but I still treasure it to this day.”

Visiting Elizabeth’s grave is a daily habit for Bouvier. Although she’s in a different place, that doesn’t discourage Bouvier to continue giving her unconditional love with his visits.

“Our key to love was that we also were best friends during our marriage,” he said. “She was my true love. I don’t care if she’s dead – she’s still the one for me.”

Through families and friends — the Hamiltons

In 1955, Jean heard about a guy named Bud through his sister and her friend, Margaret, whom was marrying Jean’s first cousin.

She got to know the basics about Bud quite well since he was talked about so much; not only was he close to Margaret’s husband, but he also was serving in the military overseas and they often borrowed his car to drive around in Fresno, Calif.

Jean didn’t think anything of it until Bud came home for a week for Christmas and get together with friends.

She first saw him walk into the room carrying a bottle of Canadian Club whiskey.

“He came to me and introduced himself,” Jean said. “We then decided to go see a movie, “Sincerely Yours.””

It was an ideal date night, indeed, but it didn’t stop after the film. Bud and Jean talked the night away on the driveway.

“I had it all planned,” she said. “I told him I wanted to be a brain surgeon and I wasn’t planning on getting married and having kids.”

But Bud begged the differ.

“He said, ‘we get along so well, we should get married,’” she said.

The next day, Jean’s cousin called to check in, wanting details about the night out. “Bud is crazy,” Jean said.

“Well, you better pick out your wedding dress,” her cousin replied.

But that didn’t end up happening — not right away, at least. Jean pursued her career in college and Bud returned to service.

Instead, they fell in love through the letters they wrote. When Bud returned home, he proposed and the couple married Dec. 22, 1956, in Lindsay, Calif.

In 1972, the couple moved from Fresno to Carson City with their four children — Michelle, Mark, Mike and Ken.

“My husband is a strong person,” she said. “He was determined to marry me. I still think he’s crazy.”

As a longtime employee for IBM, the company allowed Bud to work remotely in Carson City for 33 years before opening Hamilton Business Machines in town, in 1987.

The business is still operating and focuses primarily on printer repair. Their youngest son, Ken, still helps run the business.

During those 33 years, Jean worked at Carson Tahoe Health hospital as a nurse and continues to volunteer at the gift shop.

The couple of 60 years.

The right choice — the Borders

With her dark, curly shoulder-length hair and sparkling eyes, Jaqueline was a catch during the late 1930s.

That’s how World War II veteran Wes Borders saw her — even though he was already dating his friend’s sister at the time.

During their teen years, the families lived on the same block in San Antonio, Texas.

“I saw him riding a bike,” Jacque said. “His girlfriend was there with me and talking to me about how wonderful he was.”

Jacque often hung out with Wes, his girlfriend, and other friends. She’ll never forget the way he swayed and whistled tunes at the same time, without wearing any shoes.

“She was far more sophisticated than I was,” Wes said.

There was another time they met after that, at a swimming pool. Jacque dressed up in her new swimsuit, ready to soak up some sun—until Wes splashed water all of over her from the side.

He thought it was funny.

But when Jacque turned 16, she started dating a boy named John, whom also was a friend of Wes.

Wes was single by then; both boys took turns dating Jacque and enjoyed talking about her to each other. That lasted until both boys enlisted in the military; Wes went into the Air Force and John went into the Navy.

But for Jacque, however, the dating scene was endless.

“In San Antonio, you could have a date from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.,” she said. “Every military cadet would want an opportunity.”

But she didn’t let go of John or Wes when they left.

In fact, she kept both of them through letters.

“I told Wes in a letter I’d marry him when he returns,” she said. “I told John the same thing.”

But the truth was, Jacque didn’t really want to get married and she didn’t expect either boy to reach back.

“I ended up writing apology letters to both,” she said.

She never heard back from John but when Wes came home, Jacque knew he was the one.

“There was something about him I liked,” she said. “My father called me and told me I was too young to get married.”

But we all know when true love erupts, nobody listens to their parents.

Since Jaque’s mother moved to Loveland, Colo., the couple decided to have their wedding there in town on June 28, 1945. She was 21 and he was 23.

From there, the couple toured 10,000 miles through Europe in seven months. Wes also continued to serve for his country and completed 500 combat missions overall during World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

They raised two children together, 27 years apart: Charles Wesley Jr. and Michael. Jacque eventually operated a bridal shop and when Wes retired from the military, he helped manage rental resorts.

But how they made their way to Carson City also was during their travels— and both fell in love with the area, unexpectedly.

“We were on our way to Vancouver, Canada,” Jacque said. “But first, we wanted to visit some old friends we had living in Carson City. I told Wes it was beautiful here and that we should sell the house and move.”

They never made it to Canada, but they settled down in Carson City in 1996.

But in 2000, the couple had to resettle in San Antonio for the next decade; Jacque received news she thought she would never hear.

“I got a mammogram and it showed cancer,” she said.

“But we got it fixed so we moved back to Carson City,” Wes added.

After 71 years of marriage, the couple currently reside at the Sierra Place Senior Living on West College Parkway. At age 93, Jaque’s breast cancer returned and Wes, 95, still joins her by her side. Both say they’re at peace and their bucket list is completed.

But how do you live in peace for so long with someone?

The key is commitment, Jacque said.

“We moved so often,” she said. “We had so much fun together and we had arguments. But you always know you made a vow and you have to keep it. It’s not the same anymore these days.”

Step by step — the Kleins

Shirley was a new student at El Camino College Compton Center in California, during 1945.

But she made new friends quickly and had company to join during lunchtime – especially with Tony, whom was on the football team.

As the two were falling in love, Tony was preparing for his leave to Japan during World War II, as he was a Marine Corp in the military.

But according to Shirley, he was able to get out of it in time. Tony was originally scheduled to leave in the fall but after he had finished bootcamp, the European War had ended.

“When he came home in the summer, we couldn’t find a place to live,” she said.

The couple wanted to get married but they needed a roof first.

Regardless of imperfections and complications, the couple built a garage on Tony’s parents’ property, creating a one-bedroom apartment for two.

After they paid their first-month’s rent to his parents, Shirley and Tony married Nov. 1, 1946.

“That’s how we did it,” she said. “It was about putting one foot in front of the other, together.”

In their wedding photo, bushy bouquets surrounded the groom and bride, whom were both smiling and wearing black suits—perfect for their time.

“I was mad at the photographer, though,” she said. “He put my hat in the wrong place.”

The couple had one of each: a daughter and a son, both currently residing in Carson City having passed their 70th anniversary last November.

Best Valentine’s Day ever — the Thompsons

Samantha Thompson, public relations specialist of Carson Tahoe Health, received her Valentine’s Day gift early this year – and nothing will ever compare.

On Feb. 2, Thompson and her husband, Matt, welcomed their son, Evan Parker, to the world.

“I’m over the moon,” she said. “He really is my little Valentine’s Day present.”

The couples’ first “little peanut” is perfect and healthy, weighing 6 pounds and 19.5 inches – and is not fussy at all, she said.

Ironically, four years ago on Valentine’s Day, the newlywed couple was settling into Carson City, after finishing college at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif. Matt’s family reside in Genoa and the Thompsons wanted to be closer to the now, new grandparents.

The couple met during their freshman year in 2007; they wed in Aug. 2012.

“We always kept a sense of humor and never took each other for granted,” she said. “And now, we’re in love with our baby.”

The reconnection – the Dodges

There’s a picture on Darla Dodge’s desk and she’s never changed it out of the frame for 19 years.

It’s a picture of her and her high school sweetheart, John, when they were teenagers.

January 1991 was the time of their lives at Carson High School, where they met. Darla was a sophomore and John was a senior.

“We met through mutual friends and went to the same youth group together,” she said.

But before graduating and heading off to University of Nevada, Reno — and the night before Senior Prom — John broke it off with Darla.

Although they were together during one year in high school, it took them a couple of years to reconnect, she said.

“We had off and on engagements,” she said. “I didn’t see him for two years after we broke up the first time.”

When Darla graduated CHS in 1993, she attended a football game with friends and unexpectedly bumped into an old stranger – John.

“The chemistry was still there when we caught up,” she said.

Two years later, John proposed.

And with their two children grown and in college, the couple plans to spend Valentine’s Day with a homemade dinner.

“We like to spend time at home,” she said. “We’re kind of sour about the holiday—it’s over romanticized.”

Darla is a business officer at Western Nevada College and John is an officer with the Nevada Highway Patrol.

For the love of animals – Valentine’s Day with pets

And then, there are furry companions to celebrate with on Valentine’s Day—who said they can’t be another aspect of love?

First Valentine’s Day with Big Mac

Out of all days, Lynn Short and her husband, Jim, picked a perfect day to adopt to a pet at the Nevada Humane Society: Jan. 7, right before the first round of the massive flood storm hit Carson City.

After losing a beloved cat a week prior that lived for 20 years, the couple was eager to start anew.

That’s when they fell in love at the sight of a 15-pound cat, seven years of age.

“His original name was Jensky,” she said. “We were so in love and we decided to take him home to test out with our two small dogs.”

After the trial period, the Shorts adopted him immediately and changed his name to Big Mac, based on his color combination.

“We realized how marvelous of a cat he is,” she said. “He fits right in. Didn’t even skip a beat of finding his place here.”

For those who may be considering adopting a pet today for Valentine’s-sake, take Lynn Short’s word.

“You’re not a failure if it doesn’t work,” she said. “The animals are greatly cared for at the humane society. But take a chance and open up your home. Everyone will reap the benefits of it.”

Cinder-shaped hearts

As told by Laura Le Anne Meaders

My boyfriend and I have adopted animals throughout our lives there. We actually have a 15-year-old dog, and three cats.

Our cat, Cinder, is our most recent addition. We adopted her almost two years ago. We were looking for a cat for my daughter to play with since our other animals were older.

Cinder, who was named Pepper at the time, was crawling all over the cage.

I overlooked Cinder at first. I wasn’t looking to adopt a kitten with a three-year-old. I was looking for a young adult cat. But Cinder caught my daughter’s attention and seeing that little gray arm reaching for my daughter’s every time we passed, I finally caved and asked have her taken to a visitation room to meet this tiny cat with an obviously big personality.

We bonded instantly! This cat purred as soon as you touched her and sat in my daughters lap immediately.

You would think coming into a new home, an eight week old kitten would be a little nervous with cats, a dog and a rambunctious three-year-old running around, but Cinder fell right in to her new life.

Most nights Cinder will come running into my daughters room as I read her bedtime stories and curls up with us for some “girl time.”

My daughter is excited everyday to come home and see her kitty. They play all the time whether it’s with a cat toy, in play house or snuggled up watching a movie together. Those two have a very special bond. They even enjoy sharing frozen yogurt together. They love to play in the snow together.

In the morning, Cinder is usually the first one to greet us as we are getting our coffee and breakfast in the morning.

Cinder is also a fan of watching everyone bush their teeth. She keeps us in line and prefers to drink water straight from the tap.

I suffer from migraines and on days I come home and am not feeling well, Cinder seems to just “know” and will snuggle up by me and will not leave me side. Those painful days are made a little more bearable because of this little loving cat.

Friends or family that come over, Cinder is the first animal to greet them. She has no fear. She’s outgoing and friendly. She’s amazing.

Loving Sally

As told by Amanda Decell

We had two dogs before we adopted Sally from the Nevada Humane society, Bonnie and Clyde.

We lost Bonnie, unexpectedly and it broke us. After a while, we starting seeing that Clyde was lonely, so we decided to find him another friend.

I was searching the Pet Harbor website, because we wanted to rescue a dog who needed a home, and that is how I came across Sally.

The humane society gave her a different name, but they said she was a lost dog that nobody claimed, and I couldn’t understand for the life of me, why that would be? She was so cute, she truly captured our hearts, even though we hadn’t met her yet. So I called them up and said we really wanted to meet her, and bring our dog to meet her too, so we could see if she would fit in with our family.

From that first meeting, even with her being a little scared, she still managed to show us we needed her, and we adopted her right then. We absolutely love her, and even though we felt a hole when we lost our Bonnie, Sally helped to fill the space in a different way we never knew we needed. She is so great with my young children, and is truly a big love-bug.