We met in June 1972 – Debbie was going to summer school and working for Coach Bob Davis. Since it was summer, the main work was the summer basketball camp program held at Georgetown College. Ronny was fresh out of the Army, living in Lexington, and had come back to Georgetown to work on his Master’s Degree. In the fall, he would be the “house mom” for the Pikes. Here is our story:
My friends and I were sitting in the cafeteria “checking out the newbies” for the summer. We looked up and saw a couple of guys walking in the door we did not know and thought they looked pretty interesting and provided a good topic of conversation for us – especially the one with the big smile and blue eyes. He also had this white streak running through his blonde hair. There were a couple of guys sitting at the table with us, and we were quite surprised when one of the guys we were sitting with struck up a conversation with them as they walked by. It turns out that both guys had actually graduated from G-town. When the two “newbies” came out of the cafeteria, they came to sit at the table. My friends and I were in the process of leaving. I later ran into them again in the cafeteria lobby, I dropped my keys on the floor. Ronny stopped and picked them up, gave my key ring a look, and handed the keys back to me. I went back to Coach Davis’s office, and my friends walked back to Dorm II where we stayed during the summer months, but not before we had a quick discussion about the guys and wondered if they were dating someone.
The next day I got a call from Ronny Duvall asking me out on a date. He had gotten my name off my key ring and looked me up in the directory. Of course, I said, “yes.” I liked him immediately! What did I know about him? Not much…graduated in 69, single, living in Lexington, played on two summer softball leagues, worked as a tennis pro at Lexington Country Club, and was possibly dating someone else in Lexington, and in the fall would be living in the Pike House. We hung out on campus, he gave me tennis lessons, he took me to his softball games, we went motorcycle riding with one of his friends, we had several dinner dates, I met his parents, and we socialized with his Lexington high school friends. I was really starting to like him!
The next task was to get him on campus permanently for the summer, out of Lexington, and away from whomever he was dating. Coach Davis was looking for another summer basketball coach so I suggested to Ronny that he apply for the job. Task accomplished! Thank you, Coach Davis! Not wanting to commute now from Lexington, Ronny asked Dean Bergman if he could move into the Pike House early. “Sure,” he said, “but there would be no air conditioning.” Wow! Now I had him in town and on campus! All was well, or so I thought!
One of my roommates went home one weekend and told her sister, a former Georgetown grad, that I was dating Ronny Duvall. “No,” she says! “Tell her to get away from him! He is BAD!” Too late! The more we dated; the more I liked him. As the fall semester started, there were discussions about dating other people. It wasn’t an idea I was totally crazy about, so I thought to myself, “OK, we will see how it goes.” There were guys coming back for the fall that I had dated and enjoyed going out with. I did not like them though as much as I had begun to like Ronny Duvall. Throughout the fall, we continued to date…no sign of dating anyone else.
I even walked across campus from Knight Hall to the Pike House in deep snow one very cold evening to take some soup to a “very sick” Ronny Duvall. When I got to the Pike House, he was not in the apartment. I asked one of the Pikes where he was, they said, “Duvall is upstairs teaching the guys how to do the Big B!” Holy Cow! I walked through all of that snow and cold with soup I had made in the Knight Hall kitchen to only find that “poor sick Ronny” was apparently feeling much better! I left the soup and trudged my way back to my dorm.
In December 1972, we were engaged. We married in August 1973 by Dr. George W. Redding, another Georgetown connection. I had one semester of school left which was student teaching and taking my oral exams, and I finished December 1973 with graduation in the spring of 1974.
Following graduation from Georgetown in May 1969, I was about to be drafted so a fraternity brother of mine, Ed Presson, and I signed up for a 120 day delayed enlistment program and Officers Candidate School. Ed and I played around in California for 3 months prior to entering the Army that fall. I served just short of 3 years and was a First Lieutenant when I was discharged in March 1972. That same summer, I went back to Georgetown to obtain a teaching certificate and a Master’s Degree in Education. My plan was to teach and coach. Dean Jim Bergman offered me a job as “house mom” for the Pikes which I think paid for room and board. Everything else was covered by the GI Bill.
One of my first days on campus that summer, I met Debbie in the cafeteria. She was sitting at a table with several girls and some guys that I knew from my undergraduate days at Georgetown. I talked with the guys for a bit and they introduced me to Debbie and her friends. After lunch, I ran into her and her friends in the lobby. She “accidentally” dropped her keys on the floor and I picked them up and made note of her name. She had beautiful brown eyes and a great smile and there was an immediate connection.
On our first outing together, I took her for a “bluegrass tour” on a motorcycle that I barely knew how to drive. It belonged to the roommate of one of my fraternity brothers who was also along for the ride. Georgetown College had bluegrass tours that they took prospective students on which was basically a tour of some of the horse farms in Bourbon County. As a Pike, we had our own version which needless to say involved some features not included on the GC tour. Debbie and I had a great time and that was the beginning of an awesome summer.
We rode bikes, played tennis, went to Halls on the River, and socialized with my Lexington friends. On one eventful bicycle ride, we were racing around the quadrangle and the bike I was riding had some mechanical problems…the brakes quit working and the handle bars were lose and started going round and round. I was heading toward the KA house and could not make the left turn toward Sigma Kappa house. I hit the doors of the KA house going at a high rate of speed. I wasn’t hurt but the bike was toast.
When I got out of the Army in March, I was living with my parents in Lexington, which was not ideal for a 25 year old bachelor. Debbie coerced Coach Davis to employ me as a coach in his summer basketball camps at Georgetown, and I then moved into the Pike house thanks to Dean Bergman. Debbie was his secretary for the summer and she helped me draft my team each week. We were becoming a good team ourselves, and our relationship was evolving very fast. We had so much fun that summer, and it’s one I will never forget. I gave her a lavalier that fall, and we got engaged in December. We were very much in love.
Debbie was hired to teach in Harrison County in 1974 and retired from there in 2003. Ronny worked for KY Business College for a couple of years and spent the rest of his KY career working for the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority. In 2003, after living in KY our whole lives, we moved to Gilbert, Arizona. Ronny was being hired by Southwest Student Services Corporation as the Chief Information Officer. Southwest Student Services was eventually bought out by Sallie Mae, and Ronny retired from there in 2007. He is currently a realtor with Realty ONE Group®, and Debbie works with him as a real estate assistant.
We will be married 41 years in August 2014 and have one son, Brian, who will be 35 years old in May. In 2009, Brian was diagnosed with a very rare bone cancer, a sacral chordoma. After surgery to remove his tailbone and several bones in the sacrum followed by 42 proton radiation treatments at Loma Linda University Hospital, Brian is living a normal life thanks to God’s miracle and the answer to many prayers. Brian now lives in Mammoth Lakes, CA where he works as a Certified Financial Planner with Sensible Money, and also works as a snowboard instructor for Mammoth Mountain.
We are a long way from our Georgetown roots, but we owe our beginning to Georgetown College!