ATO leads brother to the love of his life
“She’s always been very even-tempered,” says Tommy. “She’s not the type person who gets mad and yells and says ugly things about you or to you.”
“I keep my mouth shut,” says Jenny, “and steam.”
“She’s always there for me, even if I mess up or don’t do something very good, she’s always there,” he says.
For her part, Jenny has learned to appreciate a little pondering.
“He can come up with an answer for anything that’s wrong,” she says. “He doesn’t react to things like I do. … He calmly works through it, whether it’s something in our marriage, with our finances, with our children. He’ll ponder on it a while … He’s not one that talks freely about it, but he does it in his own self and then says, ‘Let me ask your opinion on this.’ “
Tommy: “You’ve got to have concern for building up the other person. You don’t tear them down. Try to let them know how special they are to you.”
“Special” makes Jenny think of “the birth of our first child — there was just nothing that can compare to that.”
Son, Ben Shuler, 28, and daughter, Rachel Thorn, 24, are each married and living in Senatobia. They’re not much older than Jenny and Tommy were when they met, through Jenny’s brother, Danny, and his fraternity.
“Alpha Tau Omega at Mississippi State,” says Jenny, 54. “Tommy came home with my brother on spring break.”
Tommy, 56, was graduating that spring 1975 in communications from Mississippi State, and heading to law school at Ole Miss.
“They stayed out in a lot that my parents had at the lake instead of at the house,” says Jenny. “That’s when I first met him and had my eyes on him a little bit. I was going to UT-Martin and getting my pre-nursing courses, then applied at UT Memphis and moved to Memphis.”
That fall, when she was at UT-Memphis and he at Ole Miss, they got together again through her brother for Fall Freeze at UT-Memphis.
“We had a great time,” says Tommy.
“They ended up staying the weekend,” she says, “… exploring Memphis together. I know we went bowling. We went to some of the nightclubs … to Overton Square.”
They soon became an item.
“He seemed very mature acting and he seemed to just have confidence in himself, stable,” she says.
“We tend to like similar things, like to do things together,” he adds.
Tommy, originally from Greenwood, Miss., graduated from law school in January 1978 and proposed. Jenny graduated from the UT-Memphis College of Nursing that May. On Aug. 12, 1978, they married at First Presbyterian Church in her hometown of Paris, Tenn.
Tommy is a principal at McClure & Shuler Attorneys at Law in Sardis, Miss. Jenny, as a nurse, has worked in hospitals, for corporations and health departments. She also has experienced the health care system first-hand. Due to stroke-like problems, they almost lost her at Christmas 2000. Tommy kept the faith.
“We both live by Christian principles,” Jenny explains. “It keeps you looking at yourself and seeing how you’re living your life and treating others … You’ve got to use that in a marriage like any other place. And after so many years, your spouse just becomes so special to you.”