That acquaintance was Kurt Broecker, whom Mary didn’t know well, but after driving in the car with him for 30 minutes, Mary felt a sudden spark.
“I didn’t know Kurt well at the time, but by the time we got to Shelbyville – a half an hour – I was in love,” Mary said, smiling at Kurt.
During the drive, Mary and Kurt began talking about scuba diving, an interest they share, and decided to visit Nassau for a diving trip with a group of friends on spring break.
“We just have always had so many interests alike,” Mary said. “We’ve always chosen not to go our separate ways especially in the evenings because that’s the only time couples really have time to connect. We decided early that we would maybe do one thing a month that didn’t involve the other person.”
On April 11, 1964, the couple married at Mary’s parents’ home in Owensboro. Following the ceremony, Mary and Kurt hopped in Mary’s ’64 Corvette, a gift she was given as incentive to attend graduate school, and drove to New Orleans for their honeymoon.
Upon returning to Kentucky, the Broeckers resided in Louisville, where much of the Broecker family – including The Voice-Tribune columnist, Carla Sue, whose husband, Brad, is Kurt’s cousin – lived. But, having grown up on a farm in Owensboro, Mary began longing for a farm of her own, and found a picturesque home in La Grange, Ky. three years later.
“I grew up showing horses and cattle and baking biscuits for 4H and that kind of thing,” she said. “We began searching for a farm of our own and we found this place. We’ve been here for almost 45 years.”
Their spacious backyard is home to many horses, cows and chickens. Each year, Mary enters her chickens in the state fair and has walked away with a ribbon every single year.
Mary and Kurt have also become active in the community. Former president of the Fillies and treasurer of the Woman’s Club of Louisville, Mary now serves on the board of Yew Dell Gardens and is president of the Republican Women in LaGrange.
Kurt has served on the board of AAA Kentucky and the board of Regent University, a Christian college in Virginia, and was in charge of the motorcycle group at Southeast Christian.
Aside from their individual projects, the two also shared time together dancing, traveling and helping young couples prepare for marriage.
“At Southeast Christian we were marriage mentors for about 12 years,” Mary said. “Southeast has a wonderful program. They talk about different things that will come up in married life. We still keep up with a lot of couples we did mentor.”
Kurt and Mary doled out plenty of marriage advice, teaching communication as the key to a successful relationship. But, in the last four years, Mary and Kurt have had to work especially hard to practice what they preach since an unexpected twist of fate happened on March 28, 2008.
On that day, Kurt suffered a stroke that left him unable to speak. He can gesture, and say “yes” and “no.” The Broeckers have found music therapy to be especially helpful, as it has miraculously taught Kurt a few important phrases.
“He has like six or eight phrases that have their own melody,” Mary said. “ ‘You look nice today’ is one, because he used to always compliment me. It is harder because we were best friends, and still are, but we talked about everything. But you make a commitment to marriage and as you go through life, changes come along and you make the best of them. I wouldn’t say it’s brought us closer, but because we’ve always been so close, it hasn’t taken anything away.”
The couple now spend their time dining at restaurants in LaGrange and Louisville and enjoy Mitchell’s, Corbett’s, Limestone and Rivue. They also spend time with their two children, O’Bryan and T.K., and their grandchildren, Taylor and Mary Elizabeth.
It is safe to say much has changed in 47 years, but Mary and Kurt have never lost sight of their love and have proven that they share a truly unbreakable bond.
“We’ve always respected one another,” Mary said. “In all the things that I’ve done, Kurt has always been 100 percent supportive. People don’t believe us but we have never had an argument. We just always have had so much consideration for what the other one needs at the time. We’re both very easy-going. I try to think what Kurt would like – and he does the same for me.”
“Communicate,” Mary said.
“Don’t forget to think about the other person’s needs,” Mary advised.
Category: In Tandem
About the Author (Author Profile)
Ashley spends half her time writing stories at The Voice-Tribune office and half her time out on the town conducting interviews, while occasionally dressing in wild outfits to fully immerse herself in the experience (aka Princess Leia at Comic Con). Ashley is a huge UofL fan and loves the Yankees and the Boston Celtics (she is fully aware of the irony). She hopes to one day outshine Erin Andrews on ESPN and enjoys running, Bardstown Road/Fourth Street, Breaking Bad and reality TV (she’s not ashamed to admit that).