New Zealand native Sue Bremner had an unbelievable experience in Albion that would come full circle 50 years later.
Back in 1970, she wanted to do something memorable her senior year so she became a foreign exchange student. She made the trek to the United States in hopes of experiencing an unforgettable senior year in a foreign country. She lived with her host family, the Woodcooks, and attended Albion High School. During her time at Albion, she caught the eye of Senior Class President, John Quarantello. John and Sue started seeing each other and attended the prom together.
They became serious soon after prom, but Sue’s time at Albion was quickly coming to a close. She would return to her homeland in July and John had plans to attend college in Ithaca. The couple vowed to stay in touch and in the beginning wrote each other often. But communication in the 70’s wasn’t as easy as it is now; we didn’t have cell phones, Facetime, email or Facebook. Calling another country was quite costly, so postal mail was the only way to affordably correspond and communicate from the U.S. to New Zealand. As time went on, the relationship cooled. Eventually, John and Sue fell out of contact. They each found someone else to share their lives with; both married and started their families a world apart.
They saw each other briefly at the 10-year class reunion, exchanged pleasantries, and then lost touch once again.
Fast forward to 2020. John had recently lost his beloved wife, Cathy. He was all by himself in his home in Texas when the country shut down due to Covid. He felt lost and lonely. To help make time go by, he decided to join Facebook to see if he could reconnect with friends. Little did he know that this decision would change his life.
While scrolling one day, he saw Sue’s name appear on Facebook so he sent her a friend request, which she accepted. They began communicating, sharing high school memories and stories of their lives. Over the course of the year they communicated every day, through email and phone, sometimes talking for hours at a time.
Neither of them had any intentions of dating again, but the friendship they reestablished began to blossom into something more. In May, 2021, John made plans to visit Sue, who at the time was a PhD student in Scotland. He ended up staying with her for four months! When he finally returned home, Sue was pulled to move to Texas to be with him.
Capturing the Magical Moment – The Proposal:
This past July John and Sue planned a Las Vegas vacation. Sue had no idea that John was also planning something more. On their way to Vegas, they stopped at the Grand Canyon. John asked a tourist if she wouldn’t mind taking a photo of them to capture the moment. The tourist obliged his request. As she held the camera up to take the shot, John bent down on one knee to pop the question. This wasn’t easy because he recently had knee replacement surgery. There, at the edge of the Grand Canyon overlook, he proposed to an unsuspecting and teary-eyed Sue, who immediately said, “Yes!” It seems that proposing at the edge of the Grand Canyon was the easy part, because as John tried to stand up with his new knee, he almost fell into the Canyon! Thankfully, a boulder prevented him from falling.
Outpouring of Support:
The couple planned a January 2023 wedding in Fort Worth, Texas. Friends and family from near and far attended the event. John’s siblings Connie and Dave were there, as well as John and Sue’s children. 1970 grads from Albion made the trip to Texas to support the couple. Classmate Alan Farnsworth officiated the nuptials, Frank Sidari, Mike Salisbury, Kevin Quarantello and Gary Mannella were guests at the wedding. John wore a full Scottish kilt and a bagpiper played during the ceremony.
Gary Mannella (70’) said, “This story could go to Hollywood and a movie should be made! It’s a home run.”
Happily Ever After
The couple is currently residing in Texas. They happily relayed this story of how their love grew out of an old friendship and memories of their time together in Albion.
Sue said it best, “This has been a fairy tale – 52 years living different lives. And to end up together, well, we just keep pinching ourselves!”
Congratulations John and Sue Quarantello! Thank you for sharing your love story with Albion Alumni. Wishing you many happy years together.