UD Love Stories 2019: John and Jane Neve
Feb 7, 2019
Wings - to show you what you can become
Roots - to remind you where you are from
John Neve (C'60, BM'65) and Jane Gibbs (C'62) met at University of Dubuque in fall 1959. Jane was a sophomore from Hopkinton, Iowa, who had just transferred from Macalester College when she decided to grab a bite at Karigan's Restaurant with a couple of friends and her roommate, Judy (Luke) Hangartner (C'62). She couldn't help but notice a guy across the room who was laughing and having a good time with a bunch of his friends. Knowing that was John Neve, Jane just admired his humor from a distance because she knew he was dating someone else at the time.
Being a good friend and knowing that the pair would click, Judy soon introduced John and Jane and they became close friends. In fact, Jane felt as though John was like an older brother she never had, and he was truly her best friend. After about a year, John and his girlfriend broke up. He needed a date to the Junior/Senior Prom, held in Peters Commons, so he asked Jane if she would accompany him. She hesitated at first because she worried it might change their friendship. Eventually, though, Jane decided to take the risk and the pair went to prom on a double date with John (C'60) and Barb (Yankee) Elliott (C'61). Jane had a wonderful time with John, and, as she anticipated, that night she started to develop more feelings for John and knew she could really fall for this man.
"He was so easy to talk with, we had the same values and faith, and we had so much fun together. I love humor in a person and John certainly had it," Jane said.
As luck would have it, John and his girlfriend soon got back together. Jane's heart was broken, but she knew she needed to try to move on. So in summer 1961, Jane went to Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, to work for three months. There she met a young man from Nebraska and began a long distance relationship. However, that relationship did not last and Jane soon found herself thinking of John again. Fate and true love later intervened when John and his girlfriend finally broke up for good.
John and Jane began to slowly spend some time together again. There was no doubt in Jane's mind that John was the one for her, even though her girlfriends advised her not to go back to him since he had broken herheart before.
"They thought I would break her heart again, but I only had plans to capture it," John said.
While attending UD, John studied sociology and music, pledged Mu Sigma Beta, sang in the Concert Choir, and toured with the Adrian Singers. He even became their director for one year. John received his bachelor of arts in sociology in 1960 and began work on his music degree. One day, while preparing to attend Honors Convocation, John proposed to Jane saying, "Jane, this is ridiculous, will you marry me?." Without hesitation, Jane responded, "Yeah!." John was drafted into the army in 1962.
While John was in the Army, Jane worked on her degree in history at UD and was an active member of the Gamma Phi Delta. Additionally, she was honored to serve as the Junior Class President and was crowned the 1962 Homecoming Queen. Jane received a Bachelor of Arts degree in December 1962, and she taught at Marshall Elementary School until the end of the 1963 academic year.
Upon John's return, the couple was married at Westminster Presbyterian Church on June 15, 1963. Participating in their wedding were many UD friends including Loretta Gratias-Bremer (C'62), John (C'61) and Barb (Yankee) Elliott (C'62), Jerry (C'62) and Judy (Luke) Hangartner (C'62), Paul Katner (C'64), Richard Rypkema (C'61), Gary Tharp (C'62), Warren Williams (C'64), Dianne (Clark) Prieditis (C'64), and Professor Kenneth Nielsen. Of course, Jane's matron of honor was Judy, and her sister, Vicki (Gibbs) Schnittjer (C'67) was her maid of honor. Judge Ed (C'50) and Maureen (Julius) Failor (C'53) served as hosts for the reception in Fellowship Hall. Officiating pastors were Dr. Richard Heydinger and Dr. Thomas Johns.
The newlyweds moved to Chicago after John completed his music degree. While in Chicago, John served as minister of music at Roseland Presbyterian Church, and Jane taught first grade in South Holland. They lived in Chicago for four years and had their first child, Dave, before moving to Downers Grove, Illinois. The Neves lived in Downers Grove for 15 years, and John served as Diaconal Minister of Music at the First United Methodist Church, while Jane taught early childhood education in the church preschool. John and Jane welcomed their second child, Beth, in Downers Grove.
Life then took the family to Tucson, Arizona, where John and Jane have lived for the past 35 years. Jane retired after teaching 25 years of early childhood and elementary education. John retired in 2003 from music ministry in the United Methodist Church after over 40 years. In retirement, the pair is still active. John uses his love of music to serve as the director for the adult handbell choir at their church. Together, John and Jane volunteer every Thursday for Mobile Meals, an organization that provides fresh, affordable meals to the elderly and disabled adults in their community.
John and Jane love to travel and have been to many places around the world - six continents to be exact. A few of their favorite destinations have been the Mediterranean and Australia. As much as they love traveling, they love their family even more. To celebrate their 50th anniversary, John and Jane rented condos in Flagstaff, AZ, so all of their family could be together for the special occasion - it was the best gift they could ask for. They also take every opportunity they can to spend time with their three grandchildren: Kemper, Kelton, and Levi.
The couple have many ties to UD. In fact, Jane's sister, Vicki (Gibbs) Schnittjer (C'67), also graduated from UD, and their parents, Leonard and Genevieve Gibbs, played an active role in the Parent's Association back in the 1960s. Leonard Gibbs taught in Hopkinton, Iowa, for over 40 years and left a strong legacy. Awarded since 1993, the Leonard and Genevieve Gibbs Memorial Scholarship is available for students majoring in elementary education, and has gone to over 20 students to date.
"UD had a major influence on our life, we will always remember that our roots are in Iowa," Jane said.