2016 Golden Eagle Lovebirds Winners
Congratulations to the 2016 Golden Eagle Lovebirds Contest Grand Prize winners, Carroll and Jane Anne (Wright) Gotcher. The Gotchers will be receiving a Date Night Package from the TTU Alumni Association!
We also want to congratulate our Random Drawing Winners, Chris and Donna Houser, who will be receiving a Second Prize Gift Basket.
Thanks to our judges, and to everyone who submitted stories this year!
Grand Prize Winners: Carroll and Jane Anne (Wright) Gotcher
I met Jane Anne (Wright) Gotcher (’87) during Football Homecoming 1983. We were both in the Golden Eagle Marching Band and had just marched the Pre-game show at the football game. It was raining...a lot. The band was taking shelter inside the band room in the Bryan Fine Arts Building and waiting for half-time. While not “Love at first sight” it was an instant connection. We became close friends and spend many marching band rehearsals smiling and chatting with one another. We ate dinner, as often as we could, together in the University Center Cafeteria. When we did finally start dating, she would study Pre-Med courses at my apartment while I was in Music Ensemble rehearsals. After rehearsal, I would walk her back to her dorm room.
Jane Anne graduated in 1987 and moved to UT Memphis for medical school. I stayed at Tech to finish up student teaching in Music Education. She came for a visit during Homecoming. We went to our favorite restaurant - Po’ Folks - and I proposed to her. She said YES! I had already set up the scene with the staff and they took great care of us during dinner. We came back to campus and went to the Music fraternity party. The rock band was playing in the basement, but when we came down the stairs...they stopped and played our favorite jazz tune “And The Angels Sing.”
We had our rehearsal dinner at Po’ Folks and got married on the stage of Wattenbarger Auditorium in the Bryan Fine Arts Building. Our friends played in the band, we featured music of TTU professor, Robert Jager, and even arranged for the carillon bells in Derryberry Hall to play the “Tech Hymn” as we left the reception. The “Groom’s Table” featured doughnut holes, from Ralph’s−of course.
After Medical Residency and Graduate School, we moved back to Cookeville for Jane Anne to open her practice and me to take the Band Director job in nearby Gainesboro.
We still go to Homecoming Football games with our children, Kira and Vance, and I bring my Marching Band to participate in the parade.
We held our 20th Anniversary celebration in the MultiPurpose room of the University Center and had the Cafeteria cater it!
Random Drawing Winners: Chris and Donna (Ramsey) Houser
I proposed on Friday before Valentine’s Day of ’85 at the Norris Dam State Park overlook. We were married in Gainesboro at the Burristown Church of Christ on June 22, 1985. We have three grown children, Drew, Jessica, and Jennifer. We have one grandson, Jaxon, who is 8 months old.
I was sitting with some Business Management majors in the study area of Johnson Hall in the Spring of ’84. We couldn’t figure out some accounting problems. Donna was sitting at another table with some Accounting majors. I went over to her and asked for help with the problems and a dialogue started. Our first date was playing tennis on the courts next to Tucker Stadium then we went to Burgess Falls that afternoon. Later that semester, she asked me to go with her to the Accounting Club picnic. The relationship really began to blossom when we had Dr. Gary Pickett’s Econ Policy class together during Summer ’84 term. One of Donna’s two B’s that she got in her college career was in that summer term class. She blamed it on the distraction of me being in there with her. I continued to make special efforts to court her by doing such things as making late night runs to Ralph’s to get her favorite donut, the Long John.
I graduated in December of 1984 with a BMGT (MIS) degree and returned to East Tennessee to work with the 134th Air Refueling Wing, Tennessee Air National Guard, McGhee Tyson Air Base, in the Consolidated Base Personnel Office (CBPO). I had joined the Air Guard in July of 1982 and missed one quarter of college while attending basic training and technical school. I also ran cross-country for Tech, receiving two varsity letters. Donna remained at Tech continuing with her work toward an accounting degree with plans to graduate in Spring of ’85. The courtship continued over the next few months with us taking turns traveling to see each other on weekends. I proposed not long thereafter and we soon began planning a wedding in June. Donna graduated Summa Cum Laude with her B.S. degree in Accounting on June 8, 1985; we were married on June 22, 1985; and Donna then began her first job as a project administrator with Lockwood Greene Engineers in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on July 1, 1985.
We have lived in Clinton, Oak Ridge, and now reside in Maryville, Tennessee. We will have been happily married for 31 years in June 2016. I retired from the Tennessee Air National Guard, after 29 years of full time duty in February 2014, and Donna is currently employed as a bookkeeper with the Blount County School system.