BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Bill McConnell found a creative way to relive the day he met his wife, Robin.
The happy couple met 40 years ago in the lobby of the Maumee Indoor Theater during a showing of the 1980s film, Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie. It was November 28, 1980 and Bill, who lived in Waterville at the time, was seeing the film with a group of his friends while Robin, whose maiden name is Weyandt, lived in Maumee and was also seeing it with a group of her friends.
“A mutual friend brought her over and introduced us and we just started talking and hit it off from there,” Bill recalled.
There was shared fondness between the two, who were both 17 at the time.
“I thought she was a cutie,” he added.
Robin also liked the way Bill looked.
“He was real nice and he had gorgeous eyes. That was the main thing – he had real nice eyes. He still does,” Robin said.
A few weeks after meeting, they went on their first date to Pizza Hut in Maumee.
“On our first few dates, we saw a couple of really bad movies at Southwyck Mall. Back then, there wasn’t much to do except hit a movie and walk around the mall. We also went to some high school basketball games,” Bill said.
Following graduation from high school, the couple stayed together while Robin attended Bowling Green State University, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree and later a master’s degree. Bill served a short time in the U.S. Army before entering the field of construction.
The couple wed on June 21, 1986 and lived in Maumee but later moved to Perrysburg, where they raised their three children. Bill also purchased Dunright Building Services, which he currently owns and operates, and Robin works as a teacher at Clay High School, where she is head of the English Department.
Last week, on the 40th anniversary of the night they met, the couple returned to the theater where Bill surprised Robin by arranging to have theater manager Tom Gillen recreate the marquee to reflect what it read the night the two met.
“I was crazy surprised when I got to the theater and saw the marquee. I was blown away by the whole thing,” Robin said.
Friends of the couple also made a special scrapbook with pictures dating back to their early years together, which was also presented to Robin in the lobby.
“Robin’s a special lady, and she really needed that. She deserved to have a nice, special day,” Bill said.
The couple is hopeful that for next year’s anniversary, they can host a party of some kind, post-COVID-19 restrictions. Both agree that being together for four decades is certainly something to celebrate, and for Robin, it is only possible through mutual respect and finding joy every day.
“You’ve got to find a guy that makes you laugh,” said Robin. “That’s my favorite thing. We are always making each other laugh.”