His voice still cracks when he talks about her, his wife of more than 50 years.
Buzz and Pat Halverson married in 1961 and raised their children in Omaha’s Dundee neighborhood.
Buzz wanted more years together, but that changed in May.
Pat, 70, woke up feeling sick. Her skin felt clammy.
She told Buzz to call the doctor. He called 911.
Paramedics arrived within minutes. They worked on Pat for 20 minutes but couldn’t bring her back.
Buzz knows she died in his arms, even before the rescuers rushed into the house. Doctors said it was a heart attack.
Buzz and Pat met as teens in 1955. He delivered The World-Herald in his neighborhood near 47th and Hamilton Streets.
One day a new family moved into the neighborhood with an auburn-haired beauty named Pat.
She was 14, and Buzz was 15.
Whenever Buzz stopped at her house to collect money for the newspaper, he hoped she would come to the door.
He was shy and would try chatting with her about school. He often wore a red windbreaker, and Pat’s mom would say his face matched his jacket.
Buzz attended Omaha’s old Tech High School, and Pat went to Benson High.
Before and after school, Buzz would cruise through the Benson neighborhood’s shopping area in his black two-door Ford sedan. One day he spotted Pat walking home from school with friends. He offered them all a ride and dropped Pat off last.
Buzz figured if he was ever going to ask her out, that was the time. He asked, and she said yes. He was surprised. Pat was so pretty, he figured she was out of his league.
They dated throughout high school. On Friday nights they’d hop in Buzz’s Ford and watch movies at the Sky View Drive-In. They loved cruising Northwest Radial, listening to Elvis and the Everly Brothers on the radio.
In the summer they’d swim at Peony Park and sip Cokes at Todd’s Drive-In.
Buzz graduated from Tech High in 1959. Soon after graduation he and some friends took a road trip to Colorado. While on the trip he bought a simple gold necklace with a gold cross for Pat.
She put it on right when he gave it to her, and wore it a lot.
Pat graduated from high school in 1960, and the following year she and Buzz married.
They had three children, a daughter and two sons. While Pat stayed home and raised them, Buzz worked as a machinist. He retired six years ago.
Their daughter, Jennifer Jackson, says her parents never lost the romance in their marriage. Jackson says that as kids she and her brothers would giggle when Buzz would plant a kiss on Pat.
Even in recent years it wasn’t unusual to see them holding hands on the couch, just like the teenage boyfriend and girlfriend they once were.
Pat was a wonderful cook, known for making a great pot roast and a mean peach cobbler.
She was proud of their six grandchildren, but never got a chance to meet their first great-grandchild, a girl born in September.
In the years before she died, Pat had health problems, including diabetes, and a hip replacement a few years ago. Her other hip caused a lot of pain, too, and surgery was planned.
Every morning for the past two years, Buzz helped Pat put on her slacks and shoes because she couldn’t bend over to do it.
A few weeks ago, while walking past the small table in their home where Pat fixed her hair, he noticed her jewelry box. He opened it and saw the necklace with the cross he had given her more than five decades ago.
He hadn’t seen the necklace in years. He held it in his hands, and good memories flooded back.
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