Two from Bellevue, 50 years and counting

 

 

 

Photo by Kat Buchanan, NewsNetNebraska

Story by Chris Heady, NewsNetNebraska

They sat at the top of a staircase away from the sun and 86-degree heat. Their faces and arms were wrinkled, but their smiles and laughs echoed through the underbelly of the student section.

Lonnie and Dale were content where they were: shielded by concrete from the hustle and bustle of the stands, an hour and a half before kick-off, in their haven of Memorial Stadium.

They’ve been together since 1959, when they met at Bellevue High School, her as a junior, he as a senior. They married three years later, Dale working at the Post Office.

“I worked so we could go to games,” Dale said. “I worked so we could play.”

Lonnie’s been a ticket holder for nearly five decades, she says, inheriting the tickets when her father died of leukemia in 1970. Since then, she’s only missed two games that she can remember. And Dale, he’s been beside her for every single one.

“Rain, snow, sleet or hail, we’re always there,” Dale laughed, hinting at the Post Office motto.

They laugh as they reminisce about their favorite games. Dale’s is a 1992 game against Colorado, when the Nebraska defense started out the game with a sack and pick-six. Lonnie’s is from the 70s, when some of her favorite defensive players were on the team. They get serious when they talk about this year’s team. Probably nine and four, they agree. Maybe better, depending on Taylor Martinez’s arm.

Saturday marks the couple’s first game after their 50-year wedding anniversary. And with constant changes to the stadium around them, the two stay the same.

They’ll still drive 60 miles on Highway 50 every Saturday from their home in Bellevue to watch their Huskers play. They’ll still yell as loud as they can in the “Go Big Red!” chant.

And they’ll still be found in Row 25, Section 15, side by side.