Duck Love Stories

Ducks and Duck fans share their tales of love

Randall Alvstad ’74, with Karen Alvstad ’74

It was a very sunny September in 1970 and my new Moore Hall dorm roommate and I were walking towards the EMU when we were asked to join in a touch football game on a grassy area on the commons. We both were infatuated with this beautiful girl who was such a fast runner that we had a very hard time catching her during the game. A couple weeks later, I saw her in line for dinner and told my “roomie” that I wanted to ask her out. His reply... “Wait... I want to ask her out.” So I bolted to the dinner line and brazenly asked her to go out with me. After some very real apprehension, she relented. That was 44 years ago and that sprint was the best race I ever won. We have two boys, Nathan ’04 and Torgen ’06, who are both Duck grads and both married their UO sweethearts as well. I can honestly thank the UO for giving me the opportunity to find the greatest life partner ever.

Peter Angel and Quimby Masters

When Peter Angel went on exchange from LaTrobe University, Wodonga (Victoria, Australia) he settled on the University of Oregon more out of the process of elimination than anything else.

“I knew I didn’t want to go to California, and someone else who was going on exchange really wanted to go to the University of Washington, so I decided to go to the University of Oregon.” he said.

Likewise, the road Quimby Masters took to get to Eugene was also anything but straightforward.

“I started out at the University of Utah, but I knew almost immediately it was not a good fit.”

Which is how, in Spring Term 1995, less than a month after starting at the University of Oregon, Quimby walked into the television room in the basement of Hamilton Hall and felt her world shift.

“It was love at first sight,” said Quimby. “I’d never had so much as a crush before, but when I saw Peter, my heart rose to my throat, I had butterflies in my stomach, the whole works.”

That first night they stayed up until 2:00 a.m., talking. That led to more late-night conversations and, eventually, to a relationship. They both knew it would be temporary; Peter was leaving in December to return to Australia, and neither one wanted a long-distance relationship. But after Peter left, they kept in constant contact via phone and e-mail. Before long, they were making plans for Quimby to join Peter in Australia.

“It was only going to be for a few months,” Quimby explained. “I’d planned an exchange at the American University in Cairo, starting in January; and I decided to take a term off, fly to Australia in October, and spend a couple of months with Peter before leaving for Egypt.”

But soon after she arrived in Egypt, she knew she’d made a mistake. “I just wanted to get back to Australia.”

What followed was three years of an unusual sort of bi-coastal relationship, with Quimby dividing her time between Melbourne, Australia and Eugene, Oregon. Quimby became an exchange student at LaTrobe University, Bundoora (Melbourne), allowing her to stay in Australia for a year. Then she returned to Eugene to finish her degree. In 1998, having graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science and International Studies, Cum Laude with Honors) Quimby returned to Australia. In November 1999, the couple married in Suva, Fiji, enabling Quimby to become a permanent resident of Australia.

In 2000, Peter and Quimby moved to a rural property 90 minutes west of Melbourne. In 2006, they welcomed their first child, a daughter, Deltree, followed two years later by a son, Calan.

In September 2014, with the 20th anniversary of that fateful night at Hamilton Hall fast approaching, Peter suggested the family visit the University of Oregon in time for that milestone. And so in March this year, Peter, Quimby, Deltree and Calan are packing their bags and returning to Eugene.

“We’re looking forward to showing them the campus. We’re also looking forward to seeing how much it’s changed since we were there,” says Peter. “We both have such good memories of our time there.”

As for Quimby, “I just hope I get to kiss him in that basement,” she says, “Although really, anywhere will do!”

Peter Bang-Knudsen ’63, with Jill Morrison ’65

Met at UO in in 1961. Recently celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary. Jill's parents also met at UO. Three of her brothers also attended. Peter became Marine Corps officer on graduation and served in Vietnam.

 

Nancy Brown ’83, with Cory Brown ’83

We met our senior year at the University of Oregon in 1982. We are a case study in the phrase “opposites attract.” I was in a sorority (Kappa Alpha Theta), and he was a GDI (god damn independent.) I was from California; he was a Eugene boy. I rode horses; he rode motorcycles. To this day, he prefers hunting, walking our Labrador retriever in the rain and sleeping in the outdoors, while I opt for international travel and a trip to the spa. Somehow, 33 years later, we have survived the ups and downs of marriage, raised two children, and remain college sweethearts and best friends. Go Ducks!

 

Chris Eklem ’82, with Jan (Christensen) Eklem ’82

I met my wife Jan at the UO in 1981. Once we met, we were constantly together, whether it was study dates, hiking or parties. We fell in love at the UO. When I graduated in 1982 I was lucky to get a job through on campus recruiting. I needed to move to Southern California for my job, and Jan moved down with me. We got married and have now been married for 31 wonderful years and have two children. Our kids have been brought up going to Duck football games whenever they are in town, and sometimes travel to other states or back to Eugene for big games. We have been fortunate to go to the BCS Championship game, Rose Bowl and several other big games, while hanging out with fellow Ducks that we went to college with. I work at Ghirardelli Chocolate in the Bay Area and Jan plays tennis and watches over our kids. We feel very fortunate to have met at the UO and we are both very proud to be Ducks!

Robert Getty ’58, with Jackie Getty ’59

We met at the "Bunion Derby" in the fall of 1957 in Straub Hall—(Jackie lived in Adams Hall, and they used the Straub Hall auditorium.) This was a dance program sponsored by The Women's Living Organizations for a scholarship for needy students. Each of the women's dorms and sororities hosted a dance at their respective buildings/houses. Each of the members from each of the men's living organizations of men's dorms and fraternities went as a separate group on a trek around campus one evening, and paid 5 cents per person to dance with girls at each house for only 7-10 minutes. After about two hours of this, we could go back to one women's dorm/house of our choice and dance for one hour.

When my fraternity brother (Phil Woody) and I walked in the door, a girl turned around and looked my direction, so I asked her to dance. I thought she was a freshman (she looked so young and pretty), but she quickly told me she had not even seen me and was a junior, and had attended Lewis & Clark College for the two previous years. After an on and off romance for about six months or so—attending many dances, dates, and getting more acquainted—we went to our TKE Fraternity Dance in an old 1937 Chevrolet pickup, and afterwards I asked her to marry me. She said yes (I think this was the happiest day of my life). I got her back to the dorm late that night, and she got grounded for a couple of weeks—they had closing hours back then, and Adams Hall had a watchful house mother. We married in the fall of 1958 and are still married, and we have three wonderful daughters who are all married and doing well.

Sarah Harris ’03, with Mike Harris ’04

We met in Gospel Choir class Spring Term of my fourth year; we were both tenors and he was the section leader. I was on the women's soccer team (he was in ROTC and was the Duck for two years) and he really started to notice me in the Fall Term of my fifth year when I started having to come straight from training. We dated for a few months my last year but ended up breaking up. We had always at least stayed in touch over the years, but six years later we got back together again doing the "long distance thing," as he was in Missouri for the Army and I was back in Washington. Six months after that we got married, and at the Rose Bowl this year we celebrated our sixth anniversary.

 

Tanya Parker with James Pursey

James used to be an avid runner until he broke his foot in 2008. An original misdiagnosis of his injury was the beginning of the end of his running career. Now, years later, he still has the passion for running, but he's been bound to a foot cast and crutches for nearly two years while doctors try to figure out how to alleviate his chronic foot pain and inability to walk. Although he’s English and had never been to America until he and I started dating, he followed American athletics quite closely. James’ idol is legendary runner Steve Prefontaine, a fact he made sure to mention to me from the very beginning. James showed me documentaries and movies and showed off his Prefontaine paraphernalia as often as he could, and I’ve even had to stop him from tattooing Pre quotes on his body several times already! One of James’ lifelong dreams was to run on Hayward Field where Pre’s reputation as a champion runner began to take light.

After recently being told that it is very unlikely that James will run again, I couldn't sit back and watch his dream disappear. So I decided that no matter what, I was going to get James to Oregon and he was going to put his feet on that track! I contacted the UO to organize a special surprise trip as my wedding gift to James. We got married on Saturday, February 7, 2015 in Ohio and flew out to Eugene the very next day! James was SO surprised! Now we can cross that off his bucket list and start making plans to one day return to Eugene and hopefully run Pre’s trail. This opportunity was not only a gift for James, but it was truly an honor and privilege to watch my husband walk a lap on Hayward Field. A dream come true for the both of us!

THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone involved in making this dream a reality. We couldn't possibly be more appreciative than we are in this moment.

Traci Sharpy ’02, with Jon Sharpy

We met as undergrads in the Theatre Arts department in 2000. We were both involved with other people at the time, but we developed a strong friendship. Since our birthdays were one day apart, we frequently had combined birthday parties with a few other friends that shared the same birthday range. When we finally worked together on a production of Macbeth in 2003 (Traci was one of the Weird Sisters and Jon was in the orchestra/soundtrack), we were both single and fell in love. We both moved to the Portland area after Traci graduated to work in the film industry... always intent on someday moving back to Eugene so Jon could finish his degree. But, one thing led to another and we got married, bought a house, and had two kids before we finally moved back to Eugene... Jon intent on getting a job working for the UO and finishing his degree. Now, Jon has a job working for the Career Services department in the Lundquist College of Business and he is re-enrolled to finish his degree. Traci has been working as a physical therapist assistant, but currently is home taking care of their two kids, and pregnant with their third. This year, we celebrate our 10-year anniversary, and only two months after that we will have our third boy.

Allison Siebenmann ’12, with Eric LaPlant ’12

Eric and I met the first week of our freshman year, both living in the LLC dorm. We instantly clicked and began dating shortly after that. We enjoyed our college years, attending sorority/fraternity functions and formals, spending many of the holiday, spring, and summer breaks together, and thinking about our future. After graduation, we moved to State College, Pennsylvania, so he could attend Penn State to earn his master’s degree. Now we are living in Columbus, Ohio (Buckeye country—boo!) while he attends Ohio State, working towards his PhD. We live with our fur child, Wilson, a crazy and lovable chocolate lab. I have a great job at Ohio State in fundraising/donor relations, and I couldn't ask for a better partner in life. Thank you, Oregon, for bringing us together! Ducks for life!

Jean Stoess ’61, with Alfred Stoess ’67

Al and I met at the College of Business Administration in 1961, when I checked out a typewriter for him to use in his office. He was working on his doctorate and teaching, and I was a graduate student in business. I made a point of studying in the old Quonset hut when he was there, and he finally asked me for a date. We got married in 1962 and moved to Reno in 1963, where he had been offered the fantastic salary of $8,000 to teach at the University of Nevada, Reno. We rented a house with a washing machine, which was good because we had a baby who had been born at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eugene. After a year, we moved into the house where we still live and added two more children and three generations of Labradors. Two of our kids are Oregon ducks, one of whom married a girl from Oregon State; the other went to UNR. Our two grandchildren, from the "mixed marriage" mentioned above, despite a lot of teasing, kept the peace by going to WSU.