James Kreilich and Mary Jane Naeger went to school together at Valle High School in 1960, but it wasn’t until the beginning of their senior year in 1963 that the two started dating. It all started after a Homecoming football date.
“A buddy of mine took Mary Jane and her girlfriend home after the game,” James says. “That started it – she was the majorette!”
After they graduated high school, Mary attended nursing school in St. Louis while James studied mechanical engineering at S&T. She attended party weekends in Rolla as the couple struggled with distance and dealt with many pay phone calls late at night.
“I hitchhiked to her many, many times,” he says. “Our three-plus years of love letters fill a suitcase.”
The couple married in August 1967, which was a year before James earned his bachelor’s degree.
“Mary Jane was able to support us with her job as a nurse at the university’s infirmary,” he says. “She surprised me when I graduated in ‘68 with a Miner college ring she secretly saved out of our meager budget,” he adds.
Their first child was born near the end of his senior year of college. They returned to Rolla in 1970 for James to pursue a master’s degree in computer science, and Mary Jane again worked at the university’s infirmary. He earned that degree in 1972.
Some of their favorite memories of campus include treating themselves to Alex’s Pizza or a sundae at the local drugstore, free Sunday movies at the Student Union, and hanging out at Frisco park.
The pair returned for S&T’s Golden Alumni Reunion a couple years ago and had a great time.
Their relationship advice?
Share This Story
Wharton makes KC Chiefs’ roster
Former Missouri S&T defensive lineman Tershawn Wharton, who earned All-America honors while a Miner, made the 2020 opening day roster…
Communications entrepreneur and social engineer
Kwesi Sipho Umoja, EE’67, says that Dr. Martin Luther King’s death had a profound effect on his perception of tomorrow….
Shahd (Alassadi) and Danny Ryan
Shahd (Alassadi) and Danny Ryan first met during the 100th Best Ever St. Pat’s in 2008, but it wasn’t until…
The fine art of tuning a Corvette
Charlie Rusher, a 2011 graduate in mechanical engineering, “makes Corvettes sound like Corvettes.” Rusher was interviewed by The New York…
Surveying the future of mining
Karl F. Hasselmann, who graduated in 1925 with a degree in mining engineering, was oil prospecting in Europe when he…
Gregory McClain: education’s key to success
Gregory McClain, who graduated in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering management and...