Gerry '50 and Jackie (Schaake) Painter '54
Thanks to Professor Elkinton, I received a graduate fellowship in business from the University of Oregon for the 1950-51 academic year. That fall of 1950, I decided to attend Homecoming. I called Frank Starkey '49, a fraternity brother who was then teaching at Amity High School, to see if he could have his girlfriend get me a date to the Homecoming dance. The girl friend was Gloria (Richey) Bunnell '52. The previous year Frank and I had double dated several times, so I had gotten to know Gloria quite well.
Gloria was a member of the Kappa Alpha Phi sorority, and she enlisted Jackie Schaake, a new Kappa from Yakima, Washington. I will never forget meeting this cute little freshman in Failing Hall. She came down the stairs to the lobby, and cupid’s arrow struck me dead center.
I had dated very little in high school, but I thought college would be a good place to find a wife. I had graduated from high school in May 1946, and that summer I compiled a list of the attributes I would want to find in a wife. However, on seeing Jackie, I forgot all about that list.
When I got back to the University on Sunday, I wrote Jackie a letter that evening telling her how much I had enjoyed the weekend. I guess I intimated that I would be willing to continue our relationship. Jackie said it was unheard of for boys to write a thank note for a date. In fact, she showed it off to half of Failing’s residents! She then wrote inviting me to the annual Sadie Hawkins weekend. The rest is history.
Jackie kept a calendar that year, and it reveals I visited her 19 times. With a couple of exceptions, my transportation was all due to a fast thumb. Today a person would be insane to hitchhike, but in those days there were still traveling salesmen on the road who liked to have company, and I never had any trouble getting to McMinnville, often on a Friday afternoon and back to Eugene on Sunday. I can tell you the distance between the two cities is 86 miles, 723 yards, 2 feet, 3 inches.
We were engaged by Christmas, and were married July 22, 1951, at the First Baptist Church in Yakima. That’s why Jackie spent only that freshman year at Linfield. Twenty-five years later with two grown daughters, she graduated from Norwich University, Northfield, Vermont, where I was the treasurer and chief financial officer. She became a librarian at Norwich, and ended her career as the University’s archivist.
Sixty-one years later, and counting, we consider ourselves very lucky to have met on a blind date. Gloria, wherever you are, thank you!