Love brews along with coffee


Darlene F. Bader And Rick Lohn

June 04, 2000|By Joanne E. Morvay | By Joanne E. Morvay,Special to the Sun

It was good coffee, some angels and a venerable church that brought Darlene F. Bader and Rick Lohn together. The church is where their relationship began. Darlene, who grew up in Towson and still lives there, has been a member of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lutherville for 27 years.

Rick, also a Towson native, joined St. Paul's 12 years ago. He and Darlene served on various church committees for years, but it wasn't until March 1998 that Rick found the nerve to tell Darlene he was interested in sharing more than committee work.

One Sunday after services, he asked if he could call her.

Darlene, believing Rick was married, was shocked. "I never gave him an answer. I just turned and ran to my car," she says.

Darlene found out later that Rick was separated from his wife, but after the embarrassing incident, she wasn't sure how to proceed. Rick was equally perplexed. He no longer stopped to chat with Darlene because he didn't know what to say.

After she had run away from him, he says with a laugh, "I took that to be a 'No.' "

That summer, Darlene and Rick were brought together once more when Rick was asked to chair St. Paul's bread-baking committee. Darlene was among the volunteers who bake the bread used for Communion.

She and Rick tentatively resumed their friendly relationship. And that summer, they finally went on a date. It was not what Darlene expected.

"It was a very long night to get through," she recalls.

They had similar backgrounds growing up in Towson and attending Loyola College (though not at the same time), and they shared an interest in their church and its activities, but Darlene didn't feel any kinship with Rick.

Rick, unaware of this, continued to pursue her. The couple dated sporadically through the fall and over the holidays. On New Year's Day 1999, they visited the "Angels From the Vatican" exhibit at the Walters Art Gallery.

There, amid the centuries-old paintings and frescoes, Darlene had an epiphany. She realized, she says now, that Rick was a man worth pursuing. He was kind and generous. He was a good father and a caring son. And he seemed to be there whenever someone needed him.

"I had years of seeing Rick in church, of looking at him as a man and as a person on a church committee at a time when he had no reason to impress me," she says.

He was that very same person when they started their relationship.

The Sunday after New Year's, Darlene and Rick went to Baltimore Coffee and Tea Co. in Timonium after church. They had been there before. But this time was different. Sitting at one of the antique oak tables, the comforting aroma of freshly roasted coffee in the air, they spoke from the heart.

Over coffee, their conversation lasted four hours. And from that day on, their relationship has thrived, the couple say. In April 1999, Rick proposed on a romantic trip to Williamsburg, Va.

On May 20, the couple, both 39, married at St. Paul's. Rick's sons, Kristofer and Benjamin, served as junior ushers. Darlene's parents, Roland and Mildred Bader of Towson, and Rick's mother, Sue Lohn, and stepfather, Willis Gore, of Sparks, were among the guests.

The ceremony was dedicated in memory of Rick's late father, Norman Lohn. During the service, Darlene and Rick presented crystal angels to their mothers, "because your mom is your angel through life," Darlene explains.

They also said some public and private prayers for the angels that brought them together: the ones from the Vatican as well as the ones that kept putting them on the same church committees.

For details on submitting wedding and engagement announcements to The Sun, and to order wedding forms, please call Sundial at 410-783-1800 and enter code 6240.

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