TERRE HAUTE —
In 1951, Jane Dusanic and Jim Thorp shared a first kiss as teenagers.
At Central High School in Kansas City, Mo., they attended some of the same classes, including Spanish and physics, and joined some of the same organizations.
“We didn’t develop a huge relationship in high school, but we were in many things together, and we were friends,” Thorp recalled.
Then, after graduation in 1954, they went their separate ways, Thorp to Cornell University on a full scholarship, and Dusanic to Kansas City University (later the University of Missouri at Kansas City).
Both married and had families and didn’t see each other again until a high school reunion in 1989. Dusanic eventually settled in Terre Haute with her husband, Don, a professor at Indiana State University, while Thorp became a faculty member and department head at Cornell and later Virginia Tech.
But their story wasn’t over.
In 2012, they began emailing each other, infrequently. Thorp was no longer married, and Dusanic’s husband, Don, had died in 2011.
This past winter, when about 12 inches of snow had fallen near her home, Dusanic kidded Thorp, “Do you want to come visit?”
In May, he visited for three days. The emails increased, and Thorp came back in July. Soon after his return to Virginia in late July, he emailed Dusanic and “suggested maybe we should get married … It seemed like a good idea,” Dusanic said in an interview last week.
On Saturday, 62 years after that first kiss, Jane Dusanic and Jim Thorp married at her lakeside home in southern Vigo County. She is 77, and he is 76. “We’re very happy,” she said Friday, “and we’re really good friends.”
Their respective children and step-children planned to attend the ceremony.
There is an 11-month age difference, Dusanic notes. When they first kissed in 1951, “I robbed the cradle,” she laughs.
She and Dusanic share many interests, including music, art and politics; he is teaching her about opera. The wedding ceremony Saturday included “Song to the Moon” from the Dvorak opera, Rusalka.
“We’re both pretty intelligent; he is brilliant,” said Dusanic, a talented artist who has long been involved with the Wabash Valley Art Guild.
She likes to do watercolors featuring water scenes and cats. He’s been told his paintings resemble those of Jackson Pollack.
In 2005, when he had moved to Blacksburg, Va., he asked her to create a painting for him — and it’s still on his kitchen wall.
They also enjoy conversation. “We can talk about anything and there have been times where we almost forget to go eat dinner because we’re just talking,” she said.
As Thorp describes it, “We fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.”
Neither anticipated things would progress so quickly, but both wanted to travel together and decided not to wait. They chose not to live together. “We’re old fashioned,” she said.
According to Thorp, “They advise people our age to live together because it will cost you a lot of money to get married. Well, that’s not how we look at the world. I’ll be a patriot. I’ll pay more taxes.”
This week, the newlyweds will be off to Blacksburg, Virginia, where Thorp has a home. His background is in electrical and computer engineering, and his expertise in issues related to the power grid has been in much demand the past decade.
He is an emeritus faculty member at both Cornell and Virginia Tech but still obtains grants and does research.
But he intends to “slow down a lot more” and spend time with his bride.
When they told people they were getting married at ages 77 and 76, “Everybody says, ‘You’re crazy.’ I don’t feel crazy,” Thorp said.
“I think we feel very lucky,” said Mrs. Thorp.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
High school classmates tie knot decades after 1951 first kiss
TERRE HAUTE —
In 1951, Jane Dusanic and Jim Thorp shared a first kiss as teenagers.
- Local & Bistate
Indianapolis closing nightlife street on weekends
Indianapolis officials will close the main street through a nightlife district to motor vehicles on Friday and Saturday nights to reduce violence there.
Man revives 3-year-old who was face down in pool
Authorities in central Indiana say a man revived his 3-year-old son after spotting the boy face down in an apartment complex pool.
Vigo County Jail Log: July 11, 2014
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Thursday and Friday, based on jail records.
New exhibits set to open at Red Skelton museum
VINCENNES (AP) — Events are being planned for the opening of new exhibits at the museum celebrating the career of the late comedian Red Skelton in his southwestern Indiana hometown.
10 Things to Know for Friday
Mayor: City will not file bankruptcy
The Terre Haute City Council took well more than an hour to ask questions and discuss the health of the city’s finances with top city officials in a special meeting Thursday night. A few councilmen expressed grave concern about the financial picture, while Mayor Duke Bennett said things were improving.
State official threatens prosecution of city leaders who talk about audit
A state official has threatened to pursue the prosecution of city officials if they violate a confidentiality agreement signed last month.
ISU, 181st Intelligence Wing show off capabilities at expo
Communication and getting unmanned eyes in the sky can be vital parts of responding to a natural or man-made disaster.
Feds relent: Military to restore equipment program for fire departments
An agreement has been reached to keep surplus military equipment rolling into rural fire department bays in Indiana and 47 other states.
UW kicks off pilot campaign
Dottie King remembers the day she saw a young man leaving St. Ann’s Dental Clinic after having 17 teeth pulled. He had not received sufficient dental care before that day so his need was dramatic. That was unlike King, who had visited the dentist regularly since childhood, but still found getting a tooth filled not on her list of fun things to do. “I thought to myself, ‘I never have thought about the blessing of dental care,’” King recalled, sharing that story on Thursday morning with other volunteers for the United Way of the Wabash Valley.
Indiana’s director of homeland security sees unmanned systems’ potential
Integrating unmanned flight systems into use for domestic surveillance can provide first responders with key information in responding to fires, earthquakes and man-made disasters, said John Hill, director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
Stunt performer scheduled to be at Wigwam
A celebrity stunt man named Jim “Crash” Moreau is scheduled to perform at Terre Haute’s Wigwam Skate and Event Center on Saturday.
Rain barrels offered for sale
The Vigo County Soil and Water Conservation District is taking orders for 55-gallon rain barrels.
Tips lead to meth lab bust
Two people were arrested after police busted a clandestine methamphetamine lab Thursday in the 2200 block of Fourth Avenue in Terre Haute.
Police bust meth lab in Terre Haute
Police busted a clandestine methamphetamine lab today in the 2200 block of Fourth Avenue in Terre Haute.
UPDATE: Ethics panel approves $5K fine against Bennett
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s State Ethics Commission has approved a $5,000 fine against former state schools Superintendent Tony Bennett for using state resources in his 2012 campaign.
Vigo County Jail Log: July 10, 2014
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Wednesday and Thursday, based on jail records.
Group: 5,000 same-sex marriages in Illinois
A survey indicates thousands of same-sex couples are marrying in Illinois.
Study: Hunting restores forests in state parks
A study by a Purdue University research team has found that regulated deer hunts in Indiana state parks have helped restore forests damaged by too many white-tailed deer.
Historic Ohio Boulevard house inspired by 1948 Cary Grant movie
Spurred in 1948 by a newly released movie staring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, coupled with a growing post-World War II housing market, General Electric partnered with Hollywood’s RKO Studios to build “dream homes” throughout the country.
A panel of public and private officials is calling for $10 billion in projects to upgrade Indiana’s aging roads and bridges, but its members concede there’s no money to pay for it all.
MARK BENNETT: Making road work a barrel of fun for drivers
We’re lucky orange barrels can’t talk.
City Council to take up city finances tonight
The Terre Haute City Council will have a chance in a special meeting tonight to delve deeply into the city’s financial health. However, council members are being asked to avoid raising the most controversial subject of recent weeks: The city’s use of Redevelopment Commission tax increment finance (TIF) money.
Bennett accepts $5,000 fine in ethics settlement
Former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett has agreed to pay $5,000 as part of a settlement with Indiana’s ethics watchdog in which he admits to using state resources for campaign work but is cleared of formal ethics violations in the grade-change scandal that cost him his job as Florida’s schools chief last year.
Vermillion Jail trusties face new charges
Two former inmate trusties at the Vermillion County Jail face new criminal charges after a recently discovered security breach at the jail.
Lawrence police acquire armored military vehicle
A central Indiana city has acquired an armored military vehicle for use in highly dangerous situations.
Free carwash for law enforcement
Mike’s Carwash locations in Central Indiana, including Terre Haute, will honor the sacrifice of IMPD Officer Perry Renn and thank all those who serve and protect our communities with a free carwash for police and emergency personnel today and Friday.
Indiana agencies told to ignore gay marriages
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s office is telling state agencies act as if no gay marriages had been performed during three days following a federal court order.
State reports West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes
INDIANAPOLIS — State health officials confirmed the first signs of West Nile virus activity in Indiana for 2014. Mosquitoes in Marshall and Pike counties have tested positive for West Nile virus. There have been no reported cases of West Nile virus in humans in the state this year.
Indiana education board faces contentious meeting
Indiana’s State Board of Education is gearing up for another showdown between Democratic schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz and Republican Gov. Mike Pence’s appointees and staff.
The board is set to consider a pair of resolutions dealing with control of the board during a meeting Wednesday.
- More Local & Bistate Headlines
- Indianapolis closing nightlife street on weekends