It all began in early June 1957 when Erv and Ross met in Chicago through a mutual friend. After some dating through the summer, on November 30, their relationship was cemented by a commitment to each other. Through the years they pursued different career paths, Erv a funeral director and then an ordained minister and Ross a special ed and environmental teacher in Chicago. They moved to central Wisconsin in 1980 to tend a growing horse ranch and specialized in breeding. At one point, they had 60 horses. Eventually moving to the Milwaukee area in 1983, they became very active in LGBTQ+ affairs, volunteering for over 30 years at the Milwaukee’s BESTD Clinic. They were instrumental in founding the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center.
In 2014, when the Supreme Court made same sex marriage possible, they decided to convert their domestic partnership into a lawful marriage. They went to the Milwaukee County Clerk with anxiety about this new phenomenon and civil servants. What a pleasant surprise it was that the clerks were outstandingly helpful and supportive.
Then, they visited with their minister and friend at Pilgrim UCC in Grafton. They had decided upon a private ceremony at the church with six close friends attending. Since this was to be the first legal same sex wedding at Pilgrim, their minister was excited to “broadcast” it to the greater community. He coaxed us to agree to a “you all come” ceremony on our 57th anniversary. He invited the whole congregation to attend during his homilies at Sunday services. When he was elected “Bishop” of the Wisconsin Conference, he also made the same announcement at the conference meeting of 300 statewide delegates.
The wedding was attended by more than 250 people, many of them from the couple’s previous years in both Wisconsin and Illinois. Guests came from as far away as Australia, Texas, and all over the Midwest. Friends from Pilgrim Church served a hot meal afterward, and the high school youth decorated the hall, set the tables, served, and cleaned up. While reflecting the newly legally married couple said, “We won’t need funerals—our lives have already passed in review.” We still are puzzled about how so many people from all over found out about our wedding!
2021 Love List
- Staying is an Act of Defiance: Malik & Whryne Rasheed
- The Dreamer & the Realist: Daniel Beechler & Michael Lynn
- Our Life is Now: Stella & Vica Steel
- Quarantine Engagement: Dotti Jacob & Kimberly Rose
- The Love They Share: TeKema Balentine & Megan Bentley
- A Lifetime Together: Erv Uecker & Ross Walker
- Dreams Come True: Patrick & Ryan Platta