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 email@example.com.
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.
Gather ’round the tree
As snow fell Wednesday night, chestnuts roasted on a open fire and holiday music filled the air outside one Terre Haute school.
Oil drilling at ISU to start next week
Oil drilling is about to begin on Indiana State University property.
MARK BENNETT: Inspiration will continue to flow through Valley
The Wabash River deserves a spot on lists of New Year’s resolutions.
ISU again looking at reduced state funding
Indiana State University is preparing for nearly $1.4 million in funding cuts, as the state responds to an unexpected drop in tax collections for the first five months of the fiscal year.
Driver survives wild crash
A Terre Haute man is facing drunk driving allegations after a dramatic crash about 4 a.m. Wednesday in southern Vigo County.
Honoring his word
John Etling of Catholic Charities Terre Haute agreed to have his hair dyed orange if the Visiting Nurses Association and Hospice of the Wabash Valley raised $5,000 on Orange Friday.
Hearing postponed for ex-doctor in Omaha killings
A preliminary hearing on an attempted burglary charge has been pushed back for a former doctor accused of killing four people with ties to an Omaha medical school that fired him in 2001.
Pre-sentence report ordered for Archer
A pre-sentence report has been ordered for a man accused of killing his wife and dumping her body in an Ohio ditch.
Ross found guilty of battery
A Terre Haute man was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter but convicted of battering a man who later died at the Vigo County Jail.
South dance clinic set for Saturday
“Dancing Around the Christmas Tree” is the theme of Terre Haute South Vigo High School’s Dance Team Clinic set for Saturday in the school’s auxiliary gym.
Plea submitted for man accused of killing brother
A plea agreement has been submitted for a Terre Haute man accused of killing his brother in 2012.
Thieves stealing copper wire from Interstate light posts
Two state agencies have combined efforts to combat highway lighting wire theft.
Year nearing its end: 12-month celebration of Wabash spanned Valley
Throughout this year, events and activities have focused attention on the Wabash River through Terre Haute, Vigo County and surrounding counties. It’s been called 2013 Year of the River. On Tuesday, Art Spaces Inc. and Arts Illiana presented a wrapup of the observance’s events.
Cultural planning: Consultant to help city reach arts district designation
Terre Haute officials want a portion of the downtown to be designated by the Indiana Arts Commission as one of the state’s cultural arts districts.
Sheriff: School officers have been a win-win
Placing armed officers in all Vigo County schools not only protects children and staff from violent acts, it also has helped prevent negative behaviors in the schools — both on the part of students and adults.
Gov. Pence details 2014 education agenda
Now that reform has been implemented, Gov. Mike Pence said Tuesday it’s time for Indiana’s legislature to focus on education innovation
Terre Haute man sentenced to Federal Prison
A Terre Haute man has been sentenced to 11 years, three months in federal prison on charges of possession of child pornography.
Closing arguments today in Ross assault trial
Testimony began and concluded Tuesday in the trial of a Terre Haute man accused of battering a person who later died at the Vigo County Jail.
Victim of Monday Parke crash ID’d
Police have identified the victim in a fatal car accident in Parke County on Monday. Linda Chaney, 75, of Reelsville was driving south on Indiana 59 south of Mansfield when her vehicle left the road and struck a tree. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
State Police arrest impaired truck driver
An Illinois semi-trailer driver has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after registering more than three times the legal limit on a blood-alcohol test.
Christmas in the Park: Judges survey lights; Troop 200 comes out on top
The rockin’ snowmen were singing “I can’t get no satisfaction,” but they won first place anyway.
Board of Works: Sewage fees waived on Indiana 46
The Terre Haute Board of Works and Public Safety approved a memorandum of understanding Monday between the board and the Terre Haute Department of Redevelopment to waive sewer connection fees along part of Indiana 46/U.S. 40 on the city’s east side to promote future development.
VCSC Board approves oil, Pepsi contracts, gets ‘beard fund’
The Vigo County School Board approved a six-year exclusive agreement with Refreshments Services Pepsi and an oil and gas license with Pioneer Oil during Monday’s School Board meeting.
Agency seeks help for homeless
A Terre Haute agency that works to help homeless people hopes that other groups wanting to help will get involved to better document the needs in the Wabash Valley.
2 days, 2 fatal car wrecks in Parke County
The Parke County Sheriff’s Department has investigated two fatal accidents over the past two days, at least one caused by black ice, authorities say.
Tribune-Star staff takes awards for writing, editing, design
The Tribune-Star won three first-place awards among Indiana newspapers with a daily circulation between 18,001 and 39,999 in the 2013 Hoosier State Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.
Aviation plant noted for safety system
GE Aviation in Terre Haute has earned the Voluntary Protection Program Merit Certification for implementing safety systems that identify, evaluate, prevent and control occupational hazards to prevent employee injuries and illnesses.
Ivy Tech board awards renovation contract
Renovation of the Learning Achievement Building for the use of diesel technology gained unanimous approval Monday from Ivy Tech Community College Wabash Valley’s Board of Trustees.
Jury selection begins for death of inmate
Jury selection began Monday afternoon for a Terre Haute man accused of involuntary manslaughter in January.
James Madison Ross IV, 40, appeared in Vigo Superior Court 1 with defense attorney Christopher Shema.
Rockville man on run found, arrested
A Rockville man faces criminal charges after a domestic disturbance and a three-hour manhunt.
- More News Headlines
- Gather ’round the tree