Real Love Stories that Remind Us What Love is All About - from the Sweethearts of Bishop Spencer Place

“When you get crabby, shut your mouth. If you let things go - eventually everything always works out.” - David 

At Bishop Spencer Place, there is history, adventure, and romance. Love finds us all at different times and places in our lives. This Valentine’s Day, we introduce you to the Zollers, Rushings, and Mathenys, who are residents that share the secrets of a happy relationship and fulfilling marriage from their own experiences. Each story is unique and unrepeatable; they are proof that love exists in all stages of life.

David Debois and Joan Duncan Zoller have been married for 63 years. They’ve welcomed five beautiful children into the world; four daughters and one son. They grew up within six blocks of each other in Wichita, Kansas. They each went to school only a block away from the other one's house and never knew each other existed until they were young adults. The first time Joan saw David, he was walking up the steps of a nearby church. Joan thought to herself, “I wonder who that is.”

Years later, Joan got a call from her girlfriend who wanted her to go on a blind date with David.  She was not interested because she never had any luck with previous blind dates. Her friend said, “Duncan (Joan’s childhood nickname), you can go for a cup of coffee with the guy. You know you don’t have to marry him.”  Needless to say, Joan gave him a chance and never looked back.

David picked up Joan on the blazing summer evening of July 19, 1955. David, who normally isn’t the punctual one, waited for her in the living room while she finished up her hair. After their first coffee date, Joan thought it felt nice to be with David. Every night that week they did something together. After a few dates, David leaned over the table at the restaurant, paused, and looked at Joan with a line she will never forget; he said, “Joan, I can see right into your soul.” At that moment, Joan melted in her seat and felt that this was the guy she’d like to marry. They were engaged within six months and married the following October. Within one year of marriage, Joan was pregnant with their first little girl.

“He is the most honest man,” said Joan. “He was just so different from any other fella I went with before I met him. There was just something about him that I thought was very special when I fell in love with him, and I still feel that way. He is generous, loving, and he’s been a wonderful father. I love his personality. He is the extrovert, and I’m the introvert. He’s very personable, and I think he’s just wonderful.”

David’s favorite things about Joan are how she is very sensitive, smart, kind and romantic. His advice for married couples is this: “When you get crabby, shut your mouth. If you let things go- eventually everything always works out.”

Today, the couple likes to occasionally go to a fancy restaurant in Westport, see a movie, and go to the Kauffman for the Chamber Orchestra and Kansas City Symphony. Joan is in charge of the Chapel Altar Guild, and David's great voice fills the chapel with song during services. 

Ann and Ed Matheny were both living in the same apartment complex in Crown Center when Ed’s law partner introduced the two. Ed said that he had his own ‘cupid.’ It has been 37 good years since their wedding day. Some of their favorite memories together include enjoying Ann’s homecooked meals, traveling to Greece, and attending social events in town. Ed played basketball at MU, and Ann was born and raised in Lawrence, Kansas. “Somehow despite the college rivalry, it’s worked out,” Ed laughed.

“Ed is intellectual, caring and generous. Ed was the President of the Board for Saint Luke’s Health System for 15 years and has published numerous books. He was in the Navy during WWII, graduated from Harvard University and is now employed by Husch Blackwell,” Ann proudly said. “He’s everything you’d want. He is so disciplined and calm. I feel very fortunate to have this wonderful guy.”

Ed wasn’t shy about his feelings for his wife. “Ann is very easy to live with. We’ve had a great marriage,” said Ed. "Ann has been so caring and protective of me. She is the reason I have stayed healthy for so long. She has helped me eat healthy and has kept a happy home. She is the reason I want to go on living.”

Ed feels that after WWII he learned to distinguish what was a major problem from what was just a pain in the neck. He finished by saying, “I’ve had very few major problems in my life, and that is largely because of her.”

If the Mathenys could describe their relationship in two words they would choose, “highly compatible.” They say love is key to a happy marriage.

Doug and Janette Rushing, an upbeat and artistic couple who were introduced by a mutual friend. They went to see a show at the local Unicorn Theater in midtown for their first date. Two years later, these best friends became husband and wife on August 1, 2008. They have an adorable 18-pound dog named, Marie, who they consider to be ‘the most popular resident’ at Bishop Spencer Place.

“Studies show that a long life is best predicted by an active social life,” said Doug. “You have that here. We have music, speakers, and our family will come and stay with us.”

Doug’s favorite things about Jannette is quite the list, but here are a few things he mentioned. “Janette is an extremely kind and caring person. She had four children before we met. She is also a much-loved grandmother to five grandchildren. She is a psychotherapist and is still in practice. She has a great ability to help people. She loves to play the violin, knit, and study the French language.”

"His extensive knowledge of jazz, sports, and science," are some of Jannette's favorite things about Doug. "We play bridge with friends every Saturday at Bishop Spencer Place. We enjoy chatting over cocktails at CaVa in Westport. Doug writes me a love email every single day.” The Rushing’s secret to a happy marriage lies in communicating well and sharing mutual interests. They keep their love alive by going to concerts, reading books together, watching movies and attending various events in the community.

Saint Luke’s Bishop Spencer Place, is a distinguished retirement community in Kansas City near the Country Club Plaza with easy access to culture, cuisine, and adventure in every direction. Learn more.