Love and the Law
Couple meets at 35th Anniversary events
Seattle University School of Law has provided plenty of opportunities for Frank Edmondson '82 and Vickie Grahn '04, so both were eager to help celebrate the school's 35th anniversary in April.
Neither predicted it would lead to new anniversaries of their own.
Cuddling over lunch, the two were like teenagers telling the story of their quick courtship and marriage.
Frank, retired after a prestigious career with the state, as a staff attorney for agencies, including the state lottery, the state Centennial Commission and finally the Office of the Administrator for the Courts, and Vickie, associate claims counsel for LandAmerica, both attended an ethics CLE the afternoon of the 35th Anniversary Gala.
Frank first spotted Vickie as he grabbed his box lunch before the CLE. They sat near each other and started talking.
"I noticed him kind of lingering at the lunch table, and he saved me a seat at the CLE, like a schoolboy," she said.
They said they'd see each other at the gala - and Frank made it clear he was going alone.
He checked the nametag table at the entrance several times to see if Vickie had picked hers up. When it was finally taken from the table, it took a while to find her in the sea of people at Benaroya Hall. But he persisted - and when they connected she made sure they exchanged cards.
"The next night I was sitting down to type an email to her and the phone rang," Frank said. "I usually don't answer a call if I don't know the number, but something told me to answer it and it was her."
She mentioned that the next day was her birthday. She had lunch plans, but her dinner plans had fallen through.
"What are you going to do?," he asked with a broad smile. "You take her out to dinner for her birthday. It didn't take long to know I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her."
Three weeks later they were engaged. They were married October 25 at the Sorrento Hotel in a wedding with a 1920s theme. Guests included law school classmates, alumni and Professors Marilyn Berger, Connie Krontz, and Mark Reutlinger and Associate Dean for Advancement Susan Ahearn.
"There wasn't any reason to wait," said Vickie, now Vickie Edmondson. "It felt right. The more I know him the more I know my initial impression was right. He's even more wonderful than I thought."
Her daughter and Frank's three daughters were all at the wedding, happy their parents found each other after both had been single for many years. Frank, now retired, sold his Olympia house and moved to Seattle to share Vickie's home.
He retired from the Air Force after a distinguished 21-year career as a pilot and accident investigator before entering law school. (He flew with Steve Enquist, husband of Legal Writing Professor Anne Enquist.) Vickie worked for 20 years in the insurance industry before going to law school. Though they graduated more than 20 years apart, both found the law school welcoming to older students looking for a change.
"We're both very privileged to be able to have second careers," she said. Both have been active in the law school. Frank was featured on the cover of the 1990-91 law school catalog - a photo Vickie laminated and now carries it in her wallet.
Frank is a Dean's Club member and has helped recruit alumni to be involved in the law school. Vickie, who was on the Dispute Resolution Board in law school, volunteers as a judge and is a mentor through the Center for Professional Development.
"I wanted to go to law school since I was a teenager," Frank said. "I always give back to the law school because it did a lot for me. The law school gave me the opportunity to get an education second to none and the chance to do what I always wanted to do."
And he now has great things to say about the school's Continuing Legal Education Program as well.
"You can get more than an education at a CLE," Frank said, beaming at his new bride. "Every day that goes by, I know how good a decision it was."