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A Huntsville Love Story

Nancy Van Valkenburgh On Love And Marriage

How did you meet? Richard and I met as college students working temporary jobs at Marshall Space Flight Center. As an Auburn student, he got a job with Brown Engineering and was assigned to NASA. He escorted visitors and had a Top Secret clearance because he handled the slide projector for Dr. von Braun’s meetings. 

My home was Claxton, Georgia. I had just completed two years at Oxford College of Emory University and was trying to decide whether I wanted to go to “Big” Emory or the University of Georgia. I came to visit my aunt who had just moved to Huntsville. She suggested I take a temporary job at NASA while thinking about my future.

On my first day, I arrived for work at the Saturn S-IVB office. Since I had no clearance, I had to be escorted, and guess who my escort was? 

We started dating and got engaged. My dad made Richard promise to love, honor and to let me finish college - which I did at Auburn. Our first apartment is now The Ross Coffee House.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in marriage? I have learned to respect as well as love your spouse and be a team in every circumstance. 

What advice would we give to other couples? Richard jokingly says that the secret to staying married is two words “Yes, dear!” 

What is your favorite thing about your spouse? I love that he is so cheerful and fun, which is important to a somewhat introverted person like me. I think his favorite thing about me is that I love him so much.