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ITMUSTHAVE BEEN FATE How I Met My Wife, Teresa
As the leaves change and the temperatures drop, I am reminded to count my blessings and appreciate all that life has given me. This month, I celebrate my 20th wedding anniversary, as well as my 55th birthday, and I can’t help but smile when I think about the funny ways that life works itself out.
Near the end of my rehabilitation, on St. Patrick’s Day, I went out for drinks with some friends, and I ran into Teresa at a tavern. It was the first time I saw Teresa outside Fullerton/Ashland — and also the first time we kissed. After my rehab was complete, I formally asked her out, and we dated all throughout law school. I lived in River North, and every day, I would walk to John Marshall Law School in the Loop, finish school, and complete my day visiting Teresa, who lived in River City in the South Loop. That was our routine for about two years, and then Teresa’s lease was up, so we had no choice but to get married (joking again!).
Before I became an attorney, I was a third-generation member of the Machinery Movers & Erectors, Ironworker Local 136 (Rigger). I hurt my back while working at the Ford plant on the south side of Chicago and needed surgery. After the procedure, the insurance company put me through work hardening — a type of physical therapy where you practice movements and tasks you would normally see on the job —which I completed at Fullerton/ Ashland Medical Center.
We married on September 27, 1997, two days before my 35th birthday. There was never a question in my mind that Teresa was the woman I was going to marry. We had instant chemistry, and it was easy to be myself around her.
We’ve celebrated many memorable anniversaries together. We celebrated my 50th birthday and our 15th wedding anniversary in Manhattan. Last year we went to Las Vegas. This year, we will celebrate my 55th birthday and our 20th wedding anniversary in Nashville, Tennessee. As I look back on my life, I can recognize how much good can come out of our darker days. If I had never injured my back, I would have never met Teresa, the love of my life. I am thankful for all that life has given me, and I look forward to celebrating many more years with my wife and family.
Honestly, a medical center was the last place I expected to meet my future wife. Teresa was an X-ray technician, and she was also the staff member tasked with leading morning calisthenics, sit-ups, and stretches for the group. I went to Fullerton/Ashland every day for about eight weeks. As time went on, Teresa and I would continue our exercises after the group was finished. At the beginning of the program, we were only doing 10 sit-ups a day, but by the end of my stay, Teresa and I were doing 800 to 1,000 sit-ups — every morning! I like to say that the week I met Teresa was the best week of my life. I met her on February 9, 1995. My niece, Jessica, was born on the 10th, and I received my acceptance letter to law school on the 11th. I joke with Teresa that she would have never married a Rigger, so it was fortunate that I got injured. She, of course, insists that she would have married me no matter what, and I truly believe it!
– Steven Leahy
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