bluegrass lovebirds: doris + bill

For those of you living in the bluegrass, I hope that you are enjoying Snowpocalypse 2015 (over 10 inches of snow here)!  Perhaps to warm your heart a bit during this bitter cold snap, we have another installment of the bluegrass lovebirds series.

I am very excited to introduce our next couple, who will celebrate 40 years of marriage in June of this year.  I was thrilled to feature their sweet story to commemorate those 40 wonderful years.  It is my pleasure to introduce…

DorisBill_1William H. (Bill) and Doris Dearen Settles

Years Together: as of June 28th, 40

First date: 2/23/75; Engaged 3/15/75; Married June 28, 1975


Tell us a bit about yourself…

I [Doris] was born in Lexington but moved to Danville when I was 3 weeks old, then to Arlington Heights, Illinois at 12. Graduated from UK for both English/journalism BA and Instructional Design/english MS. Started out at the Kentucky Standard newspaper in Bardstown after college and met Bill (as an adult) soon after. I’ve spent 40 years as a writer, most of it freelance. I taught English Composition at LCC and UK, working with faculty in all disciplines to create web-centric distance learning courses and developed the first completely online Composition sequence. One day I got a call from the College of Education to interview for a new position as the Director of the newly established Ky Center for School Safety. My interest in education technology and timing put me at the forefront of Internet safety. I worked with two Ky Attorneys General to develop a statewide curriculum before stepping down from that position. I have published two books on the topic and am still asked to speak at schools and education conferences. I am currently at work on a book about Bardstown and Nelson County, where my parents grew up and my husband is from.

We have one son, Burr, who turned 37 today. He is a Ph.D in Computer Science and works for DuoLingo, a startup in Pittsburgh. Heras been married to Natalie (Larson) for 12 years. Natalie has an M.F.A in Art and Artist-in-Residence at University of Pittsburgh. We also raised Bill’s two children from a previous marriage, William J. and Tracey Settles Berry. Between them, there are three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Bill was born in Bardstown and was active in sports and choir at Bardstown High Schools. Graduating from the now defunct Ky Southern College in Louisville in Biology, he continued his education at Western Ky University with an MS in Aquatic Biology. He taught at Bardstown High, and was teaching at St. Mary’s college when we married. When he and a college friend opened a remodeling company in Lexington, we moved and he ultimately spent 33 years selling pre-engineered building components. About a decade ago he missed teaching and served as adjunct at BCTC until he retired from both last year.

We enjoy travel, international and domestic. I enjoy reading and gardening, and became a Fayette County Master Gardener in 2012. Bill has been a Southern Gospel fan since his teens and serves as Deacon and teaching Sunday school for Calvary Baptist Church, where we are both members. Bill’s free time is limited as I always have projects for him to work on. In fact, he decided to go back to work part time to cut back those activities.

Bill lived 2 doors from my Aunt/Uncle in Bardstown, and went to the same church as my family, so we knew each other since childhood. However, as he is 4.5 years older there wasn’t a lot of significant interaction. When we met as adults, he knew who I was, but really didn’t know anything about me. We fixed that pretty quickly.


How did you first meet? Was it “love at first sight” or were your “just friends”?

Doris’ grandparents lived in Bardstown, where Bill grew up. He lived two doors down from my three male cousins, with whom he was friends. Being nearly 4 years older (and one year older than my oldest cousin and sister), I was always trying to horn in on whatever they were doing, not a great start. Many years later, I moved to Bardstown to work for the newspaper and we met at church. We were involved in a Bible study, and one night…February 23 to be exact…we went out afterwards.

Where did you go on your first date?

Feb 23, 1975

We went to La Taberna restaurant in Bardstown for a late snack and drink after Bible study. I think we ended up closing the restaurant and spending until the wee hours on my grandmothers porch talking. I’m not sure we spent a whole day without seeing each other until after we were engaged.

Where did you share your first kiss?

Probably February 23 on our first date.

When did you know that he/she was “the one”?

Oh, maybe two weeks?

Tell us about your engagement proposal…

That’s a tough one, because neither of us can remember there actually being a proposal. A few weeks after we were engaged, we were driving somewhere and Doris said something about there not really being a proposal. Bill probably made it official, but it was so “beside-the-point” then neither of us really recall.


When and where were you married?

We were married in the Bardstown Baptist Church, where both my parents and my sister were also married. Both our families had attended there for many years. Both sisters and best friend from high school were bridesmaids; Bill’s two best friends from undergrad and Doris’ brother-in-aw were groomsmen.


Funny story: After our honeymoon when we went to church, I went to the left and he went to the right. Our families had always sat on opposite sides of the sanctuary. We ended up sitting on the left side of the middle.



He Said/She Said

My partner’s best quality is… 

Doris: I can tend to get really intense, and Bill’s sense of humor can stop me from going there.

Bill: An outstanding quality is her organization and ability to get things done.


The thing about my partner that drives me crazy is… 

Doris: He doesn’t seem to be able to put things back where they belong.

Bill:  In 40 years she hasn’t given up on trying to improve me.

My number one piece of advice about love is…

Doris: Before you get married, make sure your core values are similar. Then the really big stuff you’ll at least be in the same ballpark. Let the little stuff go.

Bill: See your differences as strengths in your union. If you were identical, one of you would be superfluous!



Congratulations on 40 years of marriage, Doris and Bill!  Wishing your many more years of happiness!

If you haven’t caught up on the 2015 bluegrass lovebirds series, check out other couples here, here and here.  Be sure to check out the 2013 and 2014 couples, as well.

To true love. And celebrating love all month long.






**All images provided by participating couple**

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28 year-old Lexingtonian life-long romantic married to her wonderful husband, loving life with a sweet baby boy likes movies (especially the classics), baking, throwing parties and entertaining, shopping for the best deals in town, taking long walks & playing with her golden retriever

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