Not surprisingly, it was art that brought them together 14 years ago. Specifically, it was one of Joe’s paintings.
“We met because Joe was a chemistry teacher (at Hoover High School), his department chair was a friend of mine, and she said, ‘The science teachers are meeting at the Bomber Squadron. Would you join us?’ ” Gail recalled. “It didn’t sound like much fun, but I went anyway and met Joe. No rockets, no stars, but I found out he was a painter.”
“He didn’t remember me! I made no impression on him until I bought one of his paintings,” she said with a laugh. Titled “Shattered Tree,” it hangs today in the couple’s Nimishillen Township home.
Joe remembered his first official date with Gail: “I took her to the Cleveland Museum of Art and said, ‘We’re going to spend a couple of hours here.’ Then I took her to a jazz concert at University Circle. I was testing her to see if she liked the things I liked and I thought, ‘Oh cool, she loves this stuff!’ ”
They married a year and a half later.
Finding each other in their late 40s was a plus for the couple.
“We’d had long relationships. We raised our children in other relationships,” Gail said. “Neither of us was ready to be married again. We were looking for good friends, people we liked being with. We have had so much fun together, maybe because we know who we are a little bit more than we used to.”
Both their current careers are rooted in the arts. Artistic since childhood, Joe has been a full-time professional painter since retiring from Hoover High School in 2009.
An arts administrator for many years, she is a consultant for The Artful Living Program, which is an arts-immersion program for preschoolers that is based at the Massillon Museum.
“If it weren’t for this program that I just love, I would probably just be an artist’s wife,” she confessed.
Asked for the secret to her enduring relationship with Joe, Gail said, “We’re individual people who have different interests, but the things we’re the most passionate about, we have in common—the arts, traveling, friends and family. It’s important to surround yourself with good people.”
Added Joe, “I can be up all night painting, and she can be reading her books. She does pottery and her cards. It’s important in a relationship to have your own thing.”
Gail summed it up simply.
“We don’t argue much,” she said. “It’s kind of sickening how well we get along.”