The late Ethel Precht served as match-maker for son

Published 10:38 am Monday, February 19, 2024

Christians might call this just one of the many stories about the greatest love of all. Kelly and Corrie Precht call it “answered prayer and God’s divine timing.”

Thirty-three years ago, Kelly Precht of Sweetlake had just won custody of his two girls. While visiting with his mother, the late Ethel Precht — known for her work in raising awareness of and funds for breast cancer research — she told Kelly her travel agent had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

In 1990, during a surgery, Corrie’s doctor discovered a tumor the size of an egg. It ruptured before the doctor could take it out, requiring multiple “washouts” with saline, rigorous chemotherapy and finally “the red devil.”

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“Every year, my mom and dad went to the same travel agent at the very end of the season to see if they could get a better, lower rate. I didn’t even know her name, but I remember praying for the lady,” he said. “Like me, she had two young boys, and I knew that had to be tough.”

Ethel Precht discovered something else about Corrie the next time they talked about cruise deals. Corrie would be on the dating market soon. Mom began to formulate a plan to get the two together, just knowing they would hit it off.

Meanwhile, Corrie had been praying for someone who would “love the Lord and her boys as much as she did,” she said.

“Mom kept saying you ought to call her, you ought to call her,” Kelly said.

But he didn’t. Then one day, his mother asked, somewhat out of the blue, if he thought Princess Diana was pretty. He said he did, and his mother said, well Corrie looks just like her.

His interest was “pretty” piqued, and by this point he had stopped longing to reunite with someone from his past, though he had prayed earnestly for it. Still, he didn’t call Corrie, not right away.

“This is around when bag phones were popular,” Kelly said. “I had just gotten one to keep tabs on the girls. One day, I decided to use it to give Corrie a call.”

He asked her to go fishing. She said no. He asked her to go out to dinner. She said no. She suggested lunch after the ladies in her office said that would be the best recourse. That way, she would have a reason to leave after her workbreak ended. He said no to lunch. Finally he convinced her to go out for dinner. She canceled on him – twice.

When they finally got together for that first dinner date, the conversation was honest and brutally straightforward.

“It took us sitting down and talking to learn about each other,” Corrie said. “We told each other about everything, from the beginning.”

At one point in the conversation, Kelly brusquely said he would not tolerate lying. Trust and honesty were paramount.

“I told him, that was good to hear,” she said. “I won’t tolerate lying, either.”

“I am not going to say our marriage has been a walk in the park,” Kelly said. “We’ve had terrible struggles.” Marriage and family counselors say overcoming the challenges in blended families can become quite difficult. The Prechts can attest to that.

“He’s always been there,” Corrie said, “for the kids’ baseball games from Little League to high school, and now we are there for our four grandsons, two in elementary and two in high school.    

“It’s taken keeping the faith and making it work, and I can say we’ve had more good times than bad,” Kelly said. “We definitely count our blessings.”

They talk-out problems instead of letting them drag out and fester, she said. She became his best friend and they do everything together — alligator fishing, traveling and flying. They still do.     

“God was already working, long before we met,” Kelly said. “He hears our prayers. He answered it according to his divine timing and plan (Ecclesiastes 3:11).”

The Prechts agree God healed Corrie’s cancer and sent her the man she was praying for. Now, they pray together. Only one thing comes between the two, and that’s the Spirit of the Lord in their midst, every day, and it surrounds them (Psalm 33:22). “He is faithful to those who are faithful to him (1 Thessalonians 5:24),” Corrie said.