Gil Timm and Trili Goodrich

When Gil Met Trili


Among the many couples who came to Reunion this spring were these five whose love stories have their roots at Williston.

Gil Met Trili…

The play was the thing when it came to falling in love, at least for Trili Goodrich ’72 and Gil Timm ’72. The two first met as juniors—Gil was at Williston, Trili at Northampton School for Girls—when they both performed in As You Like It. They reconnected again as seniors at the Halloween dance. “We were pretty much inseparable after that, much to all the well-intentioned teachers’ chagrin,” Trili says. Gil explains that he was drawn to Trili’s smile and honesty. “She’s sanded down a lot of my rough edges over the years and I know I’m a better man because she is a part of my life,” Gil says. The key to making a marriage last? Trili says it’s part desire, commitment, love, and “good old-fashioned luck.” For those short on luck but long on love, Gil has advice: “Remember that relationships are a creative process; they are active rather than static.”

…and Robert Met Janet…

Robert Hill and Janet LeBeau

It’s fair to say that Janet LeBeau ’67 and Rob Hill ’67, who married in the Williston Chapel, met in mid-air. That is, they met jumping on a big trampoline on the Williston campus in 1963. But the romance blossomed one year later, in ninth grade, when Rob waited outside the Teller’s house until Janet emerged from her babysitting gig. He asked if he could walk her home. “That was it,” Janet says. “We’ve been together ever since.” Asked if his move was strategic, Rob laughs and says, “My recollection is a little sparse.” They were so mad for each other that Janet once hid on the bus taking Rob to his football game in Deerfield. When Coach Bob Couch walked down the bus aisle and said, “Rob, where’s your girl?” Rob responded, “Well, she’s right here.” Janet tumbled out from under the football equipment. The couple celebrate that date every year with a cake and a chuckle. “Every single day is a re-commitment,” Janet says. “We’ve certainly had ups and downs that would have broken other couples, but which didn’t break us.”

…and Jack Met Laurie…

jack helfin and lauri fischer

Jack Heflin ’64 and Laurie Fischer ’67 were in each other’s orbit for years. Their families had summer cottages near each other in Madison, WI, and an old Polaroid of Laurie’s family captured Jack playing in the background. While Jack attended Williston, Laurie—three years younger—went to Northampton School for Girls, where she nurtured a strong crush on him. “I would go to the Williston football games so I could spot Jack,” Laurie says. “Not that he knew who I was. But I remember every time I met him.” Jack wouldn’t get the hint until they met again in their early 30s. “He happened to visit our cottage, I was the only one home, and I looked good that day for a change,” Laurie laughs. The key to their marriage: “We’re really best friends, and we have a lot in common.” Together, the couple have traveled the world, and they’re off on another adventure to the Galapagos Islands in March.

…and Ellis Met Barbara…

ellis baker and barbara curtis

When Ellis Baker ’51 first began teaching English at Williston in 1954, Barbara Curtis ’61 was just a “kid on the block.” After she graduated from Northampton School for Girls, her family moved to Pennsylvania, and Ellis set off for a life in the theater in Washington, D.C. Fast forward 10 years, and Ellis—recently separated with two children—was back teaching at Williston when he heard a knock on his door. It was that same kid from the block, only, as Ellis says, “She had grown up and looked pretty darn good to me.” Barbara was in town for a wedding, and coincidentally, she was Ellis’s son’s teacher in Wheaton, Maryland. Ellis told another faculty member: “‘See that girl walking down the street? I’m going to marry her.’ And I did.” The couple wed at the Williston Chapel and were a faculty family for more than 40 years. To celebrate their 50th anniversary, they hosted a dance party. “We danced from our first date to our 50th anniversary,” Ellis says.

…and Bill Met Shawn

bill lawrence and shawn benoliel

Williston introduced Shawn Benoliel ’78 and Bill Lawrence ’77 as students, and then brought them back together again as colleagues in 1982. The pair first became friends during Winter Term Shawn’s senior year, when Bill was a post-grad student. After Williston, they moved on with life until they both began working at the school in the early ’80s. “When you’re friends with somebody for so long, and then you see each other again, you pick right back up where you were,” Shawn says. “The rest is history.” A true sports family—both Shawn and Bill played sports at the college level—the couple celebrated their 20th anniversary attending their daughter’s soccer game at the College of Wooster. What’s their advice for making it two decades, and beyond? “I coined the phrase, ‘Marriage is always under construction,’” Shawn says. “It’s not easy, but it’s worthwhile.”