2016 Stories


Sue Skinner Beilfuss ’70 and Paul Beilfuss ’69

Sue and Paul met in Dr. Drexler's Biology class, often attending labs and studying together. After attending various fraternity events (e.g., "Ski Pal,” "Grave Affair," and Women's Fieldhouse dances), and sharing a "Tall Texan" soda at Armstrong's department store, Sue received a Phi Tau sweatshirt, later a lavalier, Phi Tau pin and eventually a diamond from Siebke and Hoyt's Jewelry Store in Cedar Rapids. Their favorite song was “My Girl” by The Temptations. Sue was the first president of Alpha Omicron Pi after a local sorority, Alpha Theta Tau, decided to once again achieve national status. Paul graduated a year before Sue and he was off teaching in his hometown, Glenview, Ill., while Sue was busy with sorority matters and her student teaching during her senior year. It was during Homecoming in 1970 that Paul proposed (after visiting her at Coe most weekends). They were married in Rochester, Minn., in 1970 by Sue's uncle, the reverend Dr. Sam Cook, who had also baptized Sue, and later baptized both their daughters and performed the marriage ceremony of their older daughter. After enjoying successful careers as educators in Illinois and Minnesota, they retired to Nisswa, MN in 2008. They enjoy their four grandchildren, peaceful lake living and play a lot of golf (they often sneak away to warmer climates during the winter).

Angelyn Brock Bitner ’10 and Nick Bitner ’10

They met one night after winter finals in December 2007 through Nick's Lambda Chi brother and Angelyn's FYS classmate, Mike Griffith ’11. There was an instant attraction between them that night. While Nick studied abroad in Asia for the next four months, their attraction grew into a strong friendship. He arrived back to campus just before spring finals and they officially started dating. In the summer of 2008, they had fun making memories around Coe, as Angelyn was staying on campus working for Campus Information. August of 2008 brought a real test to their relationship when Nick was in a serious motorcycle accident and was treated at the University of Iowa SICU. Coe was supportive of them during that time; President Phifer even went to Iowa City to visit them. Nick proposed to Angelyn during Homecoming in 2010, when she was back visiting the campus. A year and a half later they tied the knot on May 11, 2012 between Greene and Voorhees Halls where they both lived during their time at Coe.

Marilyn Batz Bone ’57 and Larry Bone ’57

I first saw my future wife, Marilyn, at St Paul’s Methodist Church on the first Sunday she was in town. I had been active in the college group at the church the previous year and we held a luncheon after church for the new incoming students. A girl that had been at Coe the year before invited a group of new girls including Marilyn to go to church with her. I was the recreation director for the group and my recreation, at least for that day, was looking over the new crop of girls. I quickly spotted a cute little girl that I was interested in. I called her that afternoon and took her to a movie that same night. I have been with her most nights since including 59 years of marriage that we are celebrating tomorrow (January 27, 2016).

Kathleen Johnston ’74 and Stan Bouma ’74

I was so excited about auditioning for the Coe band on my French horn. But then, friends in the Music Department informed me that a “Big Time East Coast Hippie” was auditioning on French horn and he was really good. As I was warming up on French horn in preparation for my audition, I could hear a French horn down the hall. It was time to check out this East Coast Hippie. A friend and I snuck down the hall and I placed my ear against the door to listen. The door opened, I fell in – and there was Stan, with me splattered on the floor, the cool Big Time Hippie looked down and calmly said, “Hi, want to play some trios?”

I’m not sure if it was love at first sight. Fortunately, we both did well on the auditions and were in the Coe band together. 41 married years later, two daughters, and with lots of good memories, we are still together. I did sell my French horn to buy a car to get us to California. However, Stan is still playing – you just can’t stop a Big Time East Coast Hippie!

Sally Casey Clancy ’57 and Dick Clancy ’59

Dick and Sally Casey had their first date during Coe’s Homecoming in 1953. They first laid eyes on each other in the lobby of Voorhees Hall, a gathering place before mealtime in the girls’ dorm. Love at first sight…maybe…but it was one heck of an attraction that lasted over six years of off and on dating and now over 56 years of marriage.

They began their lives together in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “Clance” was employed traveling for the Colgate Palmolive Company and Sally, a legal secretary. After one year, the opportunity to buy a men’s shop at the Town and Country Shopping Center in Cedar Rapids was available. Shortly thereafter, it seemed like a dream come true when the spot in the Roosevelt Hotel opened on April 6, 1960 that Clancy’s LTD became a reality. Business was good and they were very fortunate to open a young men’s and ladies’ shop in Cedar Rapids, a summer shop on Washington Island and then another shop in Ephraim in Door County, Wis. These shops kept them busy until 1990 when they retired from retail.

Our first son Tim arrived in 1964 and Sean ’92 followed in 1966. Two very special young men. Tim is a graduate of the University of Iowa and lives in Iowa City. He works at Target and loves the college atmosphere. Sean is a successful investment broker in Chicago and loves the big city life.
We are full-time residents of Washington Island, Wisconsin and love the quiet, beautiful surroundings. Life has been good and still is!

Cassie Irwin Cotton ’13 and Charles Cotton ’13

Charles and I met within the first month of being at Coe. We both lived in Armstrong Hall. We were aware of each other, but being at a small institution, it was not until later that we saw something more than a friendship.

We connected during the summer before our junior year. Charles and I both did internships at the "Nassif House" that summer; Charles interned at the Admissions Office and I interned at the Marketing and Public Relations Office. During that time, we were both on campus and got to know each other through Monopoly tournaments and other campus gatherings. A special thank you goes to Julie Staker and Rod Pritchard for volunteering us for campus photo shoots and recruiting events!

We moved to Lansing, Michigan after graduation and Charles completed his Master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration at Michigan State University. We got married in September of 2015 and purchased a house in Lansing, Michigan where we live happily with our two adopted dogs and one cat.

We both enjoyed our work in the Coe departments (Admissions and Marketing) so much that we are now currently pursuing the passion by making them our life long careers. Thanks, Coe!

Judith Meyer Curnan ’61 and Bob (Robert) Curnan ’61

Their first date was in 1957. Judy's roommate, who went to the same high school as Bob, told her not to go out with him because he hung with a fast crowd. She did anyway. He took her to a high school debate meet on campus and got her to be a timekeeper. So much for fast. Their third date was a double date with her roommate and a pledge brother of his (who is now a priest). Judy came down the steps into the Voorhees lobby wearing a white starched blouse monogramed with her initials on the front left: JAM for Judith Ann Meyer. It was her roommate's date who immediately asked “Do you call the other one Jelly?” She invited Bob to the Tri Delta pajama dance and they were a couple after that. Pinned in 1959 and married in 1961, we will celebrate our 55 happy years in August of this year.

Marie Brown English ’77 and Keith English ’78

My name is Keith English. In February, 1975, I was a Coe freshman from the small town of Maud, Texas, enjoying my first real winter. I had met John Breed from Jerseyville, Ill., in my debate class and John told me about a girl from Memphis, Tenn., that he had met in a Coe January Term course on dancing—Marie Brown. John invited Marie and me to ride to Galesburg with him and other friends to see a Coe-Knox basketball game. I don’t remember who won that basketball game, but it was the best day of my life—I met my soulmate!   

I got a great education at Coe College. I loved my many wonderful professors (Dr. Stan Watkins, Dr. Gene Goellner, Dr. Neal Woodruff, and many others). The best thing about Coe was the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people who became lifelong friends—especially the one who agreed to marry me!

Marie and I spent most of our lives in the south but moved back to the Midwest two years ago, to another town with a (largely non-existent) “rapids.”

Lori Smith Freemire ’85 and Michael Freemire ’84

Where are you from? It's a common question when you have just arrived on campus.

I'm from Denver.

Denver, Iowa?

Really? There's a Denver, Iowa?

Lots of people ask me how I ended up in Iowa. A great school, I would tell them. What kept me in Iowa, though, was meeting my future hubby!

I was a sophomore and he was a junior. We were introduced by one of my AOII sisters at a Lambda Chi dance. When I spent a semester abroad the next year, we found that distance does make the heart grow fonder, so we were engaged right after I returned to school. We were married in Palmer Lake, Colo., on June 23, 1985, with dear friends and Coe alums at our sides - Dave Morse ’86, Dawn Kolzow Morse ’85, Natalie Pagel Steenson ’85 and Laura Allen Digman ’85.

More than 30 years and three wonderful sons later, we are thrilled to have a blessed marriage and family. We really do live in Denver, Colo., now!

Cindy Garinger ’72 and Patrick Garinger ’70

I first saw Cindy at the Clan of C's Kangaroo Court. Later, I double dated with her, Skip Farrell ’69 and Sue Engle. I was smitten! I proposed to Cindy in the old Voorhees Hall meeting area in the fall of 1969. We got married in June, 1970. 45 years later, we have three wonderful children, five grandchildren and many great memories. Cindy is still that intelligent, sexy, classy, alluring, and mysterious gal I met at Coe. She has been the anchor in our family to me.



Melissa Chapman Haynes ’02 and David Haynes ’02

They met in Voorhees Hall, earlier in their first semester at Coe. Melissa remembers asking David where he was from and initially not believing that he was from Alaska! It wasn't until the summer before their senior year that they developed a closer friendship, and started dating. They both made it through graduate school, got married in 2009 and are enjoying life with two small and very active future Kohawks! They feel fortunate to have so many lovely memories from their time at Coe College.

Nikki Luneckas Hoyt ’98 and Brad Hoyt ’97

I first saw Nikki playing basketball on the outdoor court that was just outside of Greene Hall. For the next seven months, I played very hard to get until I finally gave in and decided that I should go ahead and see if she wanted to run to Taco Bell. She couldn't resist. The majority of our friends knew that she was entirely out of my league (they were right) and they actively bet against me but I tricked her early and 17 years of marriage and three kids later, I am pretty sure I won.

Elizabeth Hendrix Johnson ’99 and Corey Johnson ’99

I met my husband, Corey Johnson, in our first semester at Coe - we had the same Freshman Seminar. He was dating someone else, did not like Coe very much, and hated the class. He also wore khakis and nice leather shoes with buckles, but not tennis shoes and gym clothes like all the other guys on campus. So, I decided he clearly had bad taste and was weird. We would run into each other off and on over the next few years at Coe, and eventually took a J-Term field trip course with Dr. Kurt Redborg in our junior year. Corey by then had decided Coe was alright after all, so I decided I could speak to him. I guess it was just the right time. Even though we had been around each other for years, on that trip, we cracked each other up and fell in love, much to the surprise of our friends and the Biology Department faculty. I was honored to have several of our Coe buddies at our wedding, including three who stood up for us: Jodi Jackson ’99, Felicia Esters Campbell ’99 and Ehsan Hoque ’99.

Shawn Nishi ’01 and Mike King ’00

Mike and I met in Karate class as sparring partners! We quickly found out that we both had a love of staying active, trying new things and Mike had a knack making me laugh in the most stressful of times. His goofy, happy personality and kindness caught my attention then and now. He proposed after my Coe graduation two years later and we returned to marry at Coe in 2002 during a “weekend off” of medical school and his Master’s. Fourteen years later he’s still making me laugh out loud as well as our beautiful daughter, Malia, who adores her daddy as much as I do.

Diane Schnoebelen Kramer ’80 and Mark Kramer ’81

I used to see Diane around campus and at the Maidrite. We were both dating other people at the time, but we became friends. I ran into her a few years later downtown at Tycoon, and we started dating. We got married on June 21, 1986, with several Coe alumni in the wedding party including Kelley Hansen DeSousa ’80, Jane Siron ’81, Steve Schnoebelen ’79, Terry Streng ’81, Greg Konrardy ’82, John Raley ’81, Kyle Maiers ’81, Kurt Bergman ’81, Tim Fahrner ’83, Sean Hennessy ’81, Jim Long ’79, and Jeff Wisecup ’80. We will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary on June 21, 2016. Two kids and two golden retrievers later, we are still going strong!

Kaitlin Mitchell Kuehner ’13 and Jordan Kuehner ’13

Jordan and I started dating in high school at 16. Both coming from Coe families, it was an easy choice where our next adventure together would be. From working out at Eby, studying in the library, tailgating for the Kohawks and hanging out on the quad—we fell more in love than ever and made memories that will last forever. We got married a month after graduating and had a baby, a future Kohawk, a year and a half later!

Janet Myklebust Landis ’53 and Grant Landis ’51

Grant Landis and I met on a blind date in 1949 when I visited the college. His roommate and his roommate’s girlfriend from Des Moines set it up. We met again in the fall when I came to Coe. We started dating. My freshman year, we were elected “Cutest Couple on Campus.” We became engaged the next year and were married in June after he graduated. He was R.O.T.C. and was going in the US Air Force. We will celebrate our 65th wedding anniversary on June 23, 2016. We now live in Arizona, having moved from Illinois.

Debbie Wagener Mumm ’78 and Dennis Mumm ’78

Dennis and Debbie met during their freshman year at Coe on a MS Walkathon for a fellow Coe student. Although initially Dennis asked Debbie's friend out first, soon it was just the two of them for the rest of their Coe lives! They got married a month after graduating in 1978. They both lived and had jobs in Cedar Rapids for five years. They moved to southern WI and had three sons. Later, they ended up in Grayslake, IL where they still live today. For their 25th anniversary, they decided to adopt two children from Russia, ages 5 and 10. That has been a real adventure and proof they have a strong marriage. They still have a teenager at home but are also enjoying three adorable grandchildren with one more due this spring. Life is grand for the Mumms who will tell you they are definitely blessed.

Dish Dobson Pearl ’05 and Sean Pearl ’04

They first met in 2001 on the 4th floor east wing (Phi Tau floor) of Greene Hall. Dish admits that the nail in the coffin was when Sean called her the next morning after hanging out (a.k.a. partying in downtown Iowa City and then on the 4th floor of Greene Hall the previous night) just to say “hi.” They've been together ever since. They got married in 2010, had the cutest daughter ever, Amelia on 9/11/14, and live and work in Coralville, Iowa. Their love story continues…

Kelly Workman Preslan ’07 and Kevin Preslan ’08

Kevin and I met in Music History II class during the second semester of my sophomore year at Coe. Everyone in the class had to choose a piece of music from a specific time period in history and perform it for the class. I already knew a piano piece from the classical era, but it was a duet so I knew Kevin was the only one in the class good enough at piano to perform this duet for the assignment. Subsequently, we had to practice together several times before the performance. I started to develop a crush on him but knew he had a girlfriend from back home in Colorado. In March, we went on a college trip to New York City. I was not feeling well on the bus so Kevin offered to sit by me and comfort me. When we returned from the trip, his girlfriend broke up with him and I secretly did a happy dance! I decided I would be the one to ask him out because he did not notice I had a crush on him. The night before Flunk Day, I asked him out over Yahoo Messenger (those were the good ol' days) and he agreed to make our relationship exclusive. We woke up the next morning to the sound of the Flunk Day committee banging on our doors. Our first day as a couple was on Flunk Day! Our relationship blossomed from there and now I'm happy to report we have been married for five years and I look forward to spending another 50 years with him! Love you so much, Kevin!

Linda Weiss Rawson ’71 and Tom Rawson ’72

I worked in the Coe bookstore while I was a senior in high school where my mother was the assistant manager. When I started my freshman year, I wasn't a 'new' face on campus. It was an easy adjustment for me and although I was from Cedar Rapids, I opted to live in the dorms. I also was one of the original (colony) members of Alpha Omicron Pi.

In my junior year, Tom Rawson transferred from the University of Illinois. We met in the P.U.B. and our first date, November 1969, was the TKE Pajama party. After the dance, I suggested we go to my folks’ house to watch TV and get some snacks. At that time, men were not allowed past the lobby of a dorm and there was only one TV on campus, in the Union, other than in sorority/fraternity rooms. This is how my father first met Tom, while we were wearing pajamas, at my folks’ house watching TV on the living room floor after the dance.

Tom asked me out for a second date at the end of that night and I balked. The norm for dates, in my experience then, was that no dates were arranged with that much notice. Nobody asked anyone out for a weekend date a whole week ahead. He was determined and six months later, May 1970, we were married.

Now, 45 years, four kids and two grandkids later, we are proof the sciences and the arts can coexist.

Tom is a chemist for the U.S.D.A. Food Safety Inspection Service and I am a retired custom picture frame shop owner and watercolor artist.

Heather Wallace Rey ’93 and David Rey ’91

The first time I can ever remember meeting David Rey was at a “Collage” (Coe’s Vocal Show Ensemble) rehearsal in the theater in Dows. On a dare, he had to count every individual seat in the Dows theater by touching each one individually, while someone timed that exercise. If nothing else, I learned early on he had an amazing sense of humor, loved the theater, and loved to make everyone laugh: which he certainly did that day. I think most anyone who was ever a part of “Collage” will tell you it was an amazing experience that changed most of our lives, through tours to Hartwell, Georgia – to Orlando – to Kansas City and everywhere in between. “Collage” was an experience that also brought so many of us closer together, where many of us made our lifelong college friends. I completely give credit (and blame) to Candace and Michael Pufall and the late Richard P. Hoffman (whom both David and I miss every, single day) for the crazy antics and the ridiculous, albeit off-the-beaten-path love story that David and I had through “Collage” and the musicals and plays during the three years we were at Coe together. David taught me lots of what I know about theater, and about making people laugh (often at the most inopportune times) and – for my part – my experience as a Coe cheerleader and a Tri-Delta got him to attend a couple of football games and a couple of sorority formals (which he might not ever admit to you)!

In our 24 years of marriage, we have moved from Illinois to Iowa to Minnesota, back to Illinois and now to Arkansas, raising five kids. Ryan ’15 graduated from Coe last year as a Business and Environmental Science major (what? No theater?). Gordon will graduate from Coe this year as an Art and Education major (at least he knows where Dows is). Nate is a sophomore at Coe, Hannah is a senior in high school who has been accepted at Coe (the jury is still out on where she will attend college) and our youngest, Jack, is a sophomore in high school and already getting mailings from Coe!

I don’t think we ever necessarily planned for our love story to include raising a gaggle of Kohawks of our very own, but nothing makes us happier than being able to take pictures of our very own Kohawks, standing on the quad, being together at a Coe graduation and having a shared “Coe experience.” It’s been a wonderful, amazing, life-changing, scary, joyful ride and we owe so much - not only of our own love story – but of the love story of our family – to Coe College.

Judy Ringbloom Topping ’60 and Robert (Bob) Topping ’60

They first met during their sophomore year in Introduction to Education class. Their first date was during Coe’s Homecoming in 1957. The football games were always exciting during those years, as Bob played fullback/linebacker on the Midwest Conference championship teams, 1958 and undefeated in 1959. They were pinned at the end of their sophomore year (Tri-Delta and Sigma Nu). They were engaged by the end of their junior year and got married following graduation in 1960. After graduation, they began their teaching careers for a combined total of 63 years; Bob as a government/economics teacher and coach at Sumner and Decorah High Schools in Iowa, and Judy as a library associate at North Winneshiek School. They have three children, Tom Topping, Steve Topping ’87 and Jill Topping Nelson ’91; as well as seven grandchildren (ages 11-27). As they are enjoying their retirement, they will be celebrating their 55th anniversary this upcoming June.

One memorable Valentine memory was when Bob brought a red satin heart shaped box of chocolates over to Judy at Voorhees Hall on Valentine's Day in 1958. Since then, every year he makes sure they have a box of Valentines candy to celebrate the day. They continue to come back and attend the football games. Their 55th class reunion last fall was very enjoyable.

Tammy Lees Torres ’96 and Reuben Torres ’97

My husband, Reuben Torres, and I were vaguely aware of each other's presence throughout our years at Coe. We were both Education majors but had emphases in different areas. We shared a Sociology class together as freshmen, but never really talked. Our junior year, we both were completing our practicum experience for Education at Jefferson High School. Every morning Richard Brown ’96 and I would run into Reuben and Mitch Lewis ’96 in the cafeteria on our way to Jefferson. The funny thing is that Reuben does not remember saying hello to me everyday that J-Term. I graduated in 1996 with a BA in English but decided to return to Coe in 1997 to complete my Education Certification. That April, I went with a few of my Chi O sisters to Confetti's, where I serendipitously encountered Reuben and his friends. Our friends pushed us to talk to each other, and when we did, we discovered he was substitute teaching at Regis High School where I happened to be doing student teaching. We had the same prep hour and made a date to have lunch that Monday at school. The rest is history— with the help of Jodi Oberfoell Harris ’97 — without whom we might never have gotten together.