Mirror Lake Memories: Patty and Bill Bennett
January 22, 2014
Patty and Bill Bennett at a New Year's Eve 2013 party
Patricia “Patty” DeLong Bennett clearly recalls the day in April 1972 when she met her future husband, William “Bill” Bennett, on the steps of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity house at Ohio State. She was a member of Alpha Phi sorority house located across the street. Although a couple of Bill’s friends had tried to connect the two for a while, the timing hadn’t been right.
“Bill and I knew we had something special there,” said Patty, who worked in the medical library to help pay for college. Bill received an ROTC scholarship to help with expenses. “He was a really nice guy. I couldn’t get around that fact. We ended up dating all summer.”
In 1973, Patty earned a bachelor’s degree in education. They became engaged during the holidays. Nine days before Bill graduated the following spring with a bachelor’s degree in microbiology, the couple married on the Ohio State campus. The ceremony, attended by about 100 guests, took place near Mirror Lake with the reception in one of the ballrooms in the Ohio Union.
In true 1970’s style, Patty wore her hair long and chose Elvis’ Love Me Tender as one of their songs. Her mother sewed most of the clothing for the wedding, and Bill wore a purple cummerbund that coordinated with the minister’s apparel.
“We had studied at Mirror Lake and spent time hanging out together,” Patty said. “Even though it was not known as a place for weddings at that time, it was perfect for us.”
Bill’s mother had been concerned that a serious relationship could change her son’s professional goals. There was no need to worry. He completed medical school at Ohio State in three years and graduated in 1977. He and Patty then spent a few years living in Texas and Maryland while Bill was in the Army. They were both pleased when the time arrived to return to Ohio.
“Bill and I missed Ohio State and the camaraderie there. We had such fond memories,” she said.
Bill is now the section chief of abdominal imaging in the Department of Radiology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, where he has worked for 28 years. Patty is a costumer and seamstress for the Columbus Children’s Theatre and the Ohio Historical Society. They are parents to three sons and a daughter. Son, Patrick, recently received his doctorate in chemical engineering from Ohio State.
In June, the Bennetts will celebrate their 40th anniversary. They plan to continue their time-honored tradition of walking around Mirror Lake to remember their special day. “We’re deciding whether to jump in this time,” Patty joked, adding they also may go on an Alaskan cruise to mark the milestone.
Despite Bill’s long workdays, they make the time for ballroom dancing and enjoying all things Buckeye. They provide support for funds focused on research in radiology and are recognized by the President’s Club for their generosity.
“We wanted to give something back after all the university has given us,” Patty said. “We believe in giving back to where we got our education. Bill works there. I received two successful surgeries or I may not be walking. And, of course, Ohio State gave me Bill.”