As Trinity’s Margarite B. Parker Chapel still stands strong, so does the first Trinity couple to wed there
by Jeremy Gerlach
For Linda Hawthorne Ruhmann ’66, ’81 and Bill Ruhmann ’67, not much has changed.
Linda and Bill, the first-ever Tigers married at Parker Chapel in 1966, returned to the chapel just before this Valentine’s Day to reminisce about their romance. While new buildings, professors, and fraternities have popped up on campus, the pair say returning to the chapel renews their memories of their July 1966 wedding.
“It was a beautiful day,” Linda says. “We both still talk about it.”
Linda and Bill, sharp-witted as ever, trade memories and laughs as they thumb through their wedding photo collection, recalling their college days, all the way up to their engagement.
The two were Terrell Hills neighbors, then sweethearts at Trinity, where Linda became president of Gamma Chi Delta and Bill joined the first-ever rush class of Chi Delta Tau. Both fondly recall partying together, but only off-campus.
“Our professors discouraged any sort of parties, but if you went to a social hall or a club, there wasn’t much they had to say about that,” Bill laughs.
On the academic side of things, Linda majored in psychology at Trinity, while Bill studied sociology. Linda would go on to earn her Master of Education from Trinity.
Bill proposed in 1965 over dessert at the Petroleum Club, a members-only community of San Antonio leaders and businesspeople, located just by the Magic Time Machine. As the couple prepared for their wedding day, Linda bought her wedding dress from Rhodes department store.
On the day of the wedding, July 16, more than 250 attendees packed the chapel. Bill and Linda’s Gamma and Delt friends were on hand, with Bill’s groomsmen in black and Linda’s bridesmaids wearing mint green dresses and iconic “pillbox” hats—a staple of many 1960s weddings.
“It felt like a beautiful dream,” Linda recalls.
In marriage, the couple went on to have a daughter and two grandchildren. Linda became a professor of early childhood studies at San Antonio College for 30 years, while Bill worked his way through a career in human resources.
Despite these long steps through life, the couple say returning to the chapel this February for Valentine’s Day was a reminder of how timeless the venue has been.
Says Bill, “We never have and never will forget our vows, or marriage day, in Parker Chapel.”