Winter 2008
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TCU Magazine "Cover Story"

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With this ring | Weddings gone wrong | Here comes the, uh, hammer

Love @ TCU

By Nancy Bartosek

Neither Stuart '89 nor LeAnne Barker Beltson '89 is completely sure now why they went different ways after dating most of their freshman year at TCU, but whatever the reason, they both ended 1989 by marrying other people.

Come 1995, LeAnne was divorced; she tried to track Stuart down, but with his Army career and frequent moves, every time she got a new address, he'd be gone.

One summer day in 1998, she stumbled onto the alumni e-mail search database on the TCU Web site ( html) and found him. With heart pounding, she sent a simple message to her lost love. Ten minutes later, he responded. "He had been on the Web at that exact same time," she said. "We sent mail back and forth that day, but neither of us told the other we were now divorced."

That came later in the day when he called. Both were startled to learn they lived only a few hours apart in Kansas. Arrangements for a date the next week were made.

"That was it for both of us. By the next week we had broken up with the people we were dating and were engaged," she said. "He told me later that he had posted his e-mail address on the TCU site hoping I'd find him because he didn't know my married name and had no idea how to find me."

Three days before their wedding, Stuart was diagnosed with a serious and aggressive form of cancer. He began chemotherapy the day they were supposed to be married. The Army decided to move him to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., for further treatment, but unless they were married, LeAnne couldn't go. A one-day medical release was granted for the wedding. They called Stuart's unit and asked the secretary to arrange for a minister to be at the chapel to marry them.

Expecting only a minister and a witness, the couple found Stuart's entire unit, a photographer and video photographer, all arranged and paid for by his fellow servicemen. A Thanksgiving potluck previously planned for the day became their wedding reception, complete with cake and champagne.

"They said it was their wedding present to us," LeAnne said.

Now stationed at Walter Reed for the duration of his treatment, Stuart's prognosis is good.

"It's been quite an adventure," LeAnne said, laughing. "I don't think we would have found each other if it weren't for the TCU Web page. It was simply fate."