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Love Story: Theirs was a fiery romance from the start

Marty and Ron, seen at Marty's 80th birthday

Marty and Ron, seen at Marty's 80th birthday celebration in St. James in 2018, first came to Long Island in 1962. Credit: Grace Lo Grande

Ron Homa of Selden talks about meeting his wife, Marty.

In September 1956, I was a sophomore and Mary Martha Nunlist, better known as Marty, was a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh. We each lived with our family in nearby towns. I met Marty on campus while I was talking with Lloyd Simpson, a popular "Pitt" basketball player. Marty stopped to say hello (she had met Lloyd before), and we were introduced. When she left, I thought, "Wow! She is very pretty."

Our paths started crossing often (by my orchestration!). One day while Marty and I were talking, students started rushing through campus. A nearby high school was on fire. Marty and I joined the crowd running toward it. Despite thinking she was out of my league, I reached out to hold her hand and was pleased she accepted. We walked back still holding hands.

A week later we went on our first date, seeing a movie in downtown Pittsburgh. We went on to enjoy more dates. Marty, who had performed tap, ballet and toe as a child, danced at various Pittsburgh venues through her college years. In her freshman year, she danced with the Pitt Players in a production of "Brigadoon." The USO picked up the show, and she traveled that summer to military bases from Fort Dix, New Jersey, to the Azores, Iceland and Bermuda. It was a great experience for her — and a long, lonely month for me.

On the eve of the fall semester, I asked Marty to go steady, and she accepted. The next day the Pitt quarterback asked her for a date, and she told him he was a day late.

The next two years for us were filled with full academic schedules and social activities, as well as quiet times in front of the Commons Room's large fireplaces on cold, snowy days.

I graduated in 1959 and started teaching science in local elementary schools. We were engaged on Thanksgiving Day. After Marty’s graduation, she taught physical education and swimming at a local high school. We tied the knot Oct. 15, 1960, at St. Germaine Church in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, followed by a reception at the Norwyn Country Club and a honeymoon in the Poconos.

By 1962 Long Island schools were recruiting teachers from out of state. Marty and I both accepted offers in the Connetquot school district. I taught fifth-grade, and Marty taught elementary physical education. We moved into a 10-month rental in Patchogue and returned to Pittsburgh for two summers so I could complete my Master of Education degree.

In 1964, we moved to our newly built home in Selden, where we still live. Our three sons, Ron, David and John, were born over the next seven years. In 1978, Marty began teaching at Suffolk County Community College. She completed her Master of Arts degree at Stony Brook University in 1983.

I retired in 1998 as a school principal, and Marty retired in 1999 as a remedial reading and math teacher.

Our three sons attended college in Massachusetts and married women from Lexington. Our sons, their wives and our seven grandchildren all live in Massachusetts.

Marty and I traveled in the states and Europe, and especially enjoyed monthlong visits with Marty’s relatives in Ireland. We usually spend part of our winters in Florida. Not this year.

Marty is active in St. Margaret of Scotland Parish in Selden, and enjoys reading and crossword puzzles. I attend Hope Lutheran Church in Selden, and I serve on two community boards and sing with the Harbormen Barbershop Chorus.

Our 60th anniversary family celebration and a trip to Hawaii were both canceled. We hope to resume our travel next year. We’ll still be holding hands.

— With Ann Donahue-Smukler

TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU MET. Access the online form at newsday.com/lilovestory — or send an anecdote along with your phone number and a photo to ann.smukler@newsday.com, or call Ann Donahue-Smukler at 631-843- 2520. Publication is not guaranteed. Photos cannot be returned and may be used in other publications affiliated with Newsday.

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