Walter and Bessie met in College. That has been a very common meeting place for couples since the 40's of 50's. But it wasn't so common in 1912. Walter and Bessie were both enrolled in George Williams college in Chicago majoring in Physical Education. As soon as Walter saw her in her PE outfit he was done for. He had met his dream girl! (This is the term he used in his "Celebration of a Life" written in 1977 for use in his own eulogy). Here she is:
Unfortunately, he was already engaged to a girl back home in Boyceville, Wisconsin. He decided that he had to break off the engagement. The problem was that the girl's mother was adamant about the marriage taking place. So he went to see the mother. He explained the situation and told her that he would keep his promise but that he was afraid that her daughter would be unhappy being married to a man who didn't love her but was in love with another woman. The woman saw his point and gave him permission to break the engagement. He then saw the girl and did so. He didn't think it mattered to her as much as it had to her mother!
Walter was a Lutheran and a pacifist as the country was heading into WW I. Bessie was from a strong Presbyterian family. Her family was concerned that Bessie was getting married too young and that Walter was not a good choice. She overcame their opposition and even persuaded her husband to change to the Presbyterian Church. They were married on 17 Aug 1917 at her family Church, the Hemphill Presbyterian Church of Fort Worth, Texas. The local paper had this description: "The bride entered on the arm of her father, B.M. Hudson. She was beautifully gowned in white net satin. An extremely graceful tulle veil was draped over the folds of the skirt, falling from a lace cap of Mexican drawnwork and held secure by two white asters and tube roses.
"At the altar were embankments of ferns and petunias and tube roses with a background of stately palms. The piano, which was to the right of the altar, was half concealed beneath an archway of smilax. The lights were shaded by clusters of smilax, which lent a very pretty softness to the scene." Here she is in her wedding gown (sorry about the photo quality)