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Victoria woman shares friendship with Illinois couple in her husband's death

By JR Ortega
May 2, 2012 at 12:02 a.m.
Updated May 3, 2012 at 12:03 a.m.

Kenneth and Peggy Warren, left, met Melda and Bill Rademacher in 1999 during a 13-day trip in Hawaii. Kenneth died in 2000, and the three have kept in contact ever since.

"Is she at Notre Dame?" asked a smiling Peggy Warren.

"No, she's the architect," Melda Rademacher said.

"Oh, yes," Warren replied.

Though Warren may forget some facts about Rademacher and her family, for the most part, they have the past 13 years covered.

Rademacher and her husband, Bill, visited with Warren on Wednesday. The last time the three saw each other was on a 13-day Hawaiian tour in 1999, but now, they're minus one - Kenneth, Warren's husband.

Kenneth's death is a strong reason why the three have stayed in contact.

Readers first learned of Warren's story in 2009 when she won the Advocate's Best Vacation Ever contest with her write-up of the Hawaiian vacation.

Warren and her now late husband decided to take a final vacation together, a way to help end things on a high, memorable note. Warren's husband had been diagnosed with metastatic prostate and liver cancer in 1998 and died in 2000.

The Rademachers, who live in Illinois, were a couple they met on the tour.

There was an instant connection.

"It's been 13 years, but the memories are still fresh," said Bill Rademacher. He is a chiropractor who is in Texas for a conference.

Once Warren learned of their plans to visit Texas, she knew they had to meet once again. For so long, the two have kept in contact via telephone, email and even Facebook, especially during the holiday season.

"We really did make a connection," Melda Rademacher said.

The three spent the night reflecting on their memories of those 13 days, and of course, Kenneth.

"He was a wonderful man," Bill Rademacher said.

They knew of his cancer and knew they had to make the vacation one of the best ever, the Rademachers said.

The Rademachers were only in Victoria on Wednesday before heading to San Antonio for the conference.

Warren said she would try to visit them in San Antonio for a day or two, but their planning was a bit off.

Even then, the Rademachers and Warren are planning a future trip where Warren will go visit them.

"Imagine me in Chicago," Warren said laughing.

The three continued to laugh and chat about their Hawaiian trip. They remember the luaus, they remember the Mass and, of course they remember the camaraderie.

One particular moment they remember was Kenneth's surprise at the price of a cup of coffee. Then he remembered the trip was fully paid for, including the coffee.

The three laughed.

"We will see him again one day," Bill Rademacher said.

"Yes, we will," Warren said. "Maybe we can tease him about that $12 cup of coffee."

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