“I walked in, and there was Gillian looking through the vinyl album section of the store, and we got talking again. A couple of days later, maybe a week, I invited her to hang out.
“I bought her a pair of hamsters for Christmas. She wanted to be a veterinarian, but was discouraged into going into veterinary medicine. In those days, there weren’t very many women in veterinary medicine in the mid-60s. But she loved veterinary medicine, and one our daughters ended up graduating from Vet Med.
“She said it was the best gift she’d ever gotten. I think she was joking about that. That was the first gift I ever gave my wife. Many years later, I’d bring all kinds of flowers for Valentine’s Day.”
“We had a couple of pizza dates at Italian Patio, and then we started seeing each other more frequently. She’d come out and we’d sit in the foyer of the physics building, and I’d do my physics homework and she’d do her homework. That’s how we had our dates. Our physics dates, so to speak.”
Illinois engineering alumnus Ted Lach met his wife during the summer of 1968 after his roommate asked if he wanted to help a girl fix her record player. That girl ended up being his future wife, Illinois English literature alumna Gillian. Reconnecting in Follett’s bookstore after a busy semester of graduate school in physics for Ted, then-senior Gillian and Ted started dating – their first date was grabbing pizza with another couple at The Italian Patio. After marrying Gillian in May 1971, Ted went on to work for AT&T and later Bell Laboratory as a Bell Labs Fellow. Gillian worked for The Courier (a former newspaper in Urbana), and as a claims adjuster. Married for 41 years, Ted and Gillian had four children, three of whom attended the U. of I. as well – Erica, Ted, Jr. and Jennifer. Ted, Jr. and Erica also found their spouses while attending Illinois. Gillian passed away about three and a half years ago. Gillian named Ted’s Christmas hamsters Erskil and Ermintrude.
Listen to Ted's story. For the entire #ILLINOISlove playlist, listen here.
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