Never did Jim Davis and then Laurie Schar fathom a blind date would hinge them together with the rarity of true love that Laurie has twice experienced.

“My first husband, Pete, died of colon cancer 51⁄2 years into our marriage. Our young sons, Tanner and Donovan, and I were devastated. Never did I think I could love again, much less find a soulmate a second time,” reveals Laurie, whose then coworker and great friend, Amy Bachofen, believed it was possible.

“I bawled when Jim got off the horse and bowed down before me on one knee.”

“Amy and I job shared the secretarial post at Evergreen’s United Methodist Church. She met Jim when they both competed in the Colfax Marathon. Amy knows no strangers. She introduced herself to Jim when she seated herself next to him on the bus that transported relay runners back to their post, and instantly dived into conversation. When it was time for her to exit the bus, Amy brazenly declared, ‘I don’t know your situation, Jim, but I have a friend you need to meet.’”

Once home, Amy excitedly called Laurie, claiming, “I met the man you’re going to marry. He’s president of First Bank. Let’s go there so you can get a visual.” Laurie continuously ignored Amy’s pleas for eight months to “get a visual” of Jim, but when the Canyon Courier posted his picture when he accepted the position as president of Evergreen’s Chamber of Commerce, Laurie fully agreed with Amy that Jim was both “darling and really cute.”

Jim made the first move in February 2007. “I decided to go to the church, feigning I wanted to join. To my surprise, Amy greeted me and asked if I was ready to meet her friend. I gave her my card and requested, ‘Please have Laurie text or call me.’ Walking back to my car, I realized that was not very chivalrous, so I went back and asked Amy for Laurie’s phone number and left her a message.”

Laurie picks up the story: “I was picking my boys up from school and missed Jim’s call, which I immediately returned. He invited me to dinner at Tuscany Tavern—somewhat of a blind date. My first look at Jim proved Amy right… he IS adorable. We talked the night away, not realizing Tuscany had long ago closed. The staff had turned off the majority of lights, placed all the chairs but ours on tables with the intent to vacuum but didn’t because they didn’t want to disturb us.”

Proving her interest, Laurie reveals, “I asked Jim for a hug before leaving the restaurant and texted him soon thereafter.”

Jim, a divorced father of four, (Jillian, Jim, Joel, and Jenna) had an ex-wife to add to the mix. Laurie, Tanner and Donovan had the ghost of their doting dad and loving husband. “Pete was a great father and husband. Not only did Tanner, Donovan and I put Pete on a pedestal, so did our family and friends. I knew Jim was kind and respectful, but when he put Pete’s birthday and date of death on his annual calendar so he could reach out to me with ongoing condolences, I gave him my heart.”

Nine months after their blind date, Jim popped the question with gallant grandeur: “I wanted Laurie’s family’s permission to marry her, so I flew to Portland, without Laurie knowing, to meet with them as well as her best friend. Receiving their blessings, I asked them to be the first to sign a small pillow with ‘Love is Forever’ embroidered on it.”

Returning to Evergreen, the pillow continued to be privately passed from one mutual friend to another to sign. Jim asked Kimra Perkins and Gail Sharp to help plan the most romantic proposal possible. Horse-loving Gail offered her beautiful black gelding, Jet, for Jim to ride. Friends Deb and Amy planned the perfect ruse to keep Laurie occupied on proposal day. “Let’s go to TallGrass for pedicures on Deb’s birthday,” they coaxed. Laurie was in, totally clueless that Gail (owner of TallGrass) informed her staff not to allow the trio to leave until they were set up at Jim’s house.

With 30 people jammed into the lower level of Jim’s house, Jet tethered to his horse trailer on a residential street in The Island at Hiwan, and multiple cars parked out of sight, the stage was set a bit earlier than expected. “Let’s go! We have better things to do than wait for our toenails to dry,” Amy and Deb declared upon notification. Laurie reluctantly agreed and left TallGrass wearing her pedicure flip flops, casual going-to-the-spa attire, and dashed through 3” of snow and frigid temps to get to their car.

Arriving at Jim’s house, Laurie was shocked to find Jim’s 92-year-old grandmother, GG, draped in multiple layers of quilts and sitting on the deck before a warming firepit. “GG, what ARE you doing out here?” chided Laurie. GG responded, “Isn’t it gorgeous out here?” with her arm sweeping the expanse of the beautiful scene. Laurie again said, “GG, let’s get you inside.” GG repeated, “Isn’t it gorgeous out here?” Laurie continued her passionate pleas several more times, with GG repeating the redundant phrase and arm gesture. Out of sight, hiding in the bushes was Bill Manning, who heard GG’s repeated cue, but regretfully left his much-needed walkie talkie inside and couldn’t cue Jim for the romantic ride in.

With Laurie’s toes nearly frostbit, and hand gestures from the hidden entourage, up gallops Jim. “I instantly knew what was happening,” Laurie confesses. “GG grabbed my hand, our combined six kids and friends joined me on the deck, and countless friends poured out of the lower level. I bawled when Jim got off the horse and bowed down before me on one knee. A gorgeous ring was secured to the pillow. Instantly, I see my parents’ and best friend’s well wishes written on the pillow, with countless sentiments from other friends. As Jim asked, ‘Will you marry me?’ I questioned, ‘How did you do this?’ and quickly added, ‘YES! YES! YES!’ Then pleaded, ‘Can we go inside? My feet are frozen!’”

Five months later, on April 26, 2008, Jim and Laurie married at 4 Eagle Ranch. Laurie describes the allure of a destination wedding: “We wanted a captive audience not only for the wedding, but the day prior to and day after the wedding. We booked rooms at the Park Hyatt, thinking few would arrive the day before, but 90 percent of our guests arrived on Friday and spent the entire weekend with us.”

A year into the marriage, Jim adopted Tanner and Donovan. As with all families, the Davis’s have experienced extreme highs and many lows, but nothing prepared them for Laurie’s terrifying diagnosis of metastatic melanoma of unknown primary. “The diagnosis was hard to take. On top of that, we weren’t getting good answers regarding the prognosis,” claims Jim. Laurie adds, “I have been in treatment for 31⁄2 years with Jim by my side for every appointment, treatment, CT Scan, and MRI. He asked the needed questions and never failed to take care of me on the bad days.”

Within Jim’s perfectly phrased and somewhat prophetic proposal, he declared, “I choose to take wonderful care of you, not because you need it—because you want it.” Jim defines “romantic” and scheduled our interview on the day of their 15th wedding anniversary. Because of his countless romantic gestures since their first introduction, Laurie wanted to declare this sentiment publicly, which Jim will read when this article is in print: “Jim, I will forever cherish your unwavering support, and this makes me choose you every day.”