UD Love Stories 2020: Dual Love Story
Feb 24, 2020
Dual Love Story
George and Pauline Pike
- and -
James and Lois Remer
Two UD Love Stories:
From Dubuque, Iowa to Tucson, Arizona
George (MDiv'57, DDiv'98) and Pauline (Blair) Pike (C'55) and James (C'54) and Lois (Smith) Remer (C'53) have different love stories, but they have one thing in common - they are all Spartans!
George and Pauline (Blair) Pike
James and Lois (Smith) Remer
George Pike was in his first year of seminary classes when he met the woman who would become his wife. He happened to be in the Oak Room of Peters Commons for coffee at the same time as Pauline Blair, a senior in the undergraduate program, when their mutual friend Bob Oram (C'55, MDiv'58) introduced them. Over the next few months the pair spent a lot of time together and attended several campus events. Their fondness for each other quickly grew.
Friends of the couple, Rod Riggs (C'55) and Patricia (Pav) Riggs-Berthold (C'55), knew that Pauline and George were perfect for each other. Rod even bet Pauline that she would marry George one day, and she would have to take all of them out for dinner if she did.
Pauline responded, "No way will I marry a minister."
Little did she know that she would soon lose that bet.
Pauline invited George to spend Thanksgiving with her family in Fulton, Illinois.
"They didn't throw me out, so I guess they liked me," George said.
Knowing that he would fit into the family, George made plans to visit Pauline and her family over winter break. Being from New Jersey, George went home to celebrate Christmas with his family. While he was home, he got a car and the day after Christmas drove to Fulton to see Pauline. The pair spent a late Christmas together with her family and George surprised Pauline by asking her to marry him.
The newly engaged couple returned to campus. Pauline lived in Severance Hall and George lived in Van Vliet Hall. While Pauline finished up her studies, George worked on his seminary degree and served a little church in Centralia, Iowa. After graduating in May 1955, Pauline began working for Housewares Distributed and continued to live in Severance Hall. Meanwhile, George participated in a four-week program at Iowa State University to acquaint urban oriented pastors with rural ministry and worked for the UD maintenance department.
The couple were married on August 27, 1955, at First Presbyterian Church in Fulton. The ceremony was officiated by Pauline's father with a reception of punch and dessert following in the church basement.
Needless to say, Pauline ended up owing Rod and Pat dinner for losing the bet, which they celebrated at Timmerman's Supper Club in East Dubuque, Illinois.
The newlyweds honeymooned in Wisconsin Dells. Returning to campus, they lived in Seminary Heights for one year before moving to Kasson, Minnesota, where George served a small church while completing his final year of seminary in 1957, driving to Dubuque every week for classes. During this time, Pauline worked for Mayo Clinic.
George spent his career in ministry, serving several congregations across the country including Vancouver, Washington, and Cranford, New Jersey. He spent five and a half years traveling the world while directing the Bicentennial Fund of the Presbyterian Church, which raised $125 million for World Mission. No matter where they went, Pauline was involved with the churches they served, but, most importantly to her, was a full-time mother to their three children; Elizabeth, George Jr., and James. George finished his career serving as the director of seminary development at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary from 1995-1998. Upon his retirement, UD honored George with a doctorate degree.
"Dubuque has been a very important part of our life and continues to be," George said, adding, "I consider President Bullock a good friend."
In 1998, the couple moved to Tucson, Arizona, and currently reside at The Fountains at La Cholla-Tucson Senior Living Community. They stay busy serving on volunteer committees such as Community Life as they help plan and supervise events for fellow residents.
Two of those fellow residents just happen to be University of Dubuque graduates James and Lois (Smith) Remer.
Jim and Lois met in August 1950, the week prior to the start of fall classes. Jim was a freshman and arrived at UD a week early because his brother, Kenneth (BDiv'56), was already a student and had to be on campus early for Big Brother Orientation Training, so their parents made one trip to drop them both off. Although he was the youngest on campus, Jim spent the week getting to know people. As fate would have it, it was during that time he met the woman who would become his wife, Lois, who was a sophomore.
"She was very attractive and cordial," Jim said.
Although they did not have many classes together, the pair had similar interests and were in the acapella choir, worked in the cafeteria, and got involved with the youth program at Westminster Presbyterian Church. They were also both involved in Greek Life. Lois was a Zeta Phi, Jim was a Phi-O and was active with Chi Alpha Omega, a group of pre-theological students who would attend local churches to sing during services.
"We started dating Jim's sophomore year. We went to events together and just did a lot of things together, so we just became a couple and were doing couple things," Lois said.
Jim added, "We also tried to avoid the housemother, so we would hang out in the Severance Lounge until we got kicked out."
Jim proposed to Lois in the lounge of Severance Hall. She happily said yes. Then Jim's Phi-O brothers made it even more special by gathering together to sing to Lois.
The couple wanted to get married, but Jim was not yet 21 years old, so he had to have his parents sign for the marriage license. They were married on August 28, 1953, in South Dakota, where Lois grew up. Several of Lois and Jim's classmates attended the ceremony, which was officiated by UDTS graduate Ted Dillow (C'50). Following the service, the church provided a reception honoring the newlyweds. For their honeymoon, they rented a cabin on Lake Okoboji.
They purchased a trailer home which was parked behind McCormick Gymnasium before moving into the Seminary Heights apartments during summer 1954. Following graduation, Lois worked at the Interstate Finance Company and Jim worked a couple summer jobs while he finished up his final course credits. After completing his undergraduate degree, Jim went on to San Francisco Theological Seminary.
The couple started their family in 1956 while Jim was in his last year of seminary school. They have four children; Karen, Brian, Dianna, and Marcia.
Living in various cities across the country as Jim was called to serve in seven different congregations in Iowa, Washington, Minnesota, and Kansas, where he retired in 1996. For the majority of his ministry, Jim was a solo pastor and Lois was the best clergy wife. In addition to being a full-time mother, Lois was very active with the church and participated in women's groups, directed choirs, and developed a hand bell choir in South Sioux City, Nebraska.
After retirement, the couple moved to Arizona, and currently reside at The Fountains at La Cholla-Tucson Senior Living Community. Jim stayed involved with the church as a parish associate where he would preach about one Sunday a month and worked with church committees. Additionally, Jim enjoyed playing golf, led study groups and watercolor painting groups, and did a few pulpit supply services over the years. Lois was actively involved a knitting group that was committed to making sweaters for families and children in need. In her first three years of knitting with the group, she created over 200 sweaters to be donated.
In 2018, Jim and Lois celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in Sioux City, Iowa. Nearly 70 family and friends joined for the celebration, including five former classmates: Bob (C'53) and Mary Jo (Keith) Lucas (C'52), Don (C'52) and Bess (Wharrie) Jafvert (C'52), and Daryl Boelman (C'54).
For George, Pauline, Jim, and Lois, University of Dubuque holds a special place in their hearts. Now living at The Fountains, the four graduates enjoy seeing each other often and showing off their Spartan Pride!
Left to Right: George, Pauline, Lois, Jim