Love Story

‘God put this perfect person in my life’

Colleen (left) and Donna Simon of Kansas City were married in 2012 in Iowa.
Colleen (left) and Donna Simon of Kansas City were married in 2012 in Iowa. The Kansas City Star

At a community organizing conference in Malvern, Pa., Colleen Pinto, 50, first noticed Donna Simon, 42, when Donna made a presentation to the group.

That spring in 2008, Donna was a Lutheran pastor from Kansas City, and Colleen was a diocesan director from Richmond, Va. It took several days before Colleen managed to sit next to Donna. And when she did, a flier for an LGBT retreat fell out of Donna’s notebook.

Colleen was intrigued. She was separated from her husband, waiting for her two sons to go to college so she could come out. Donna had been out a long time and had just ended a relationship with a woman. The two began talking.

First impressions:

Donna: “Colleen was passionate, compassionate and strong. I loved her commitment to social justice.”

Colleen: “Donna was supportive and caring. She has a gift for listening. Plus she was cute.”

The unfolding: At the conference, their friendship grew, and both knew they’d made a special connection. Afterward they kept in touch via email and phone calls. Colleen was struggling to figure out who she was, and Donna was open and accepting in her listening. A couple of months later, when Donna’s job took her to Washington, Colleen drove from Richmond to see her.

“I figured I would be alone for the rest of my life,” Colleen says. “But then God put this perfect person in my life.”

Colleen and Donna had a long-distance relationship for 11/2 years, getting to know and love each other deeply primarily through email and phone conversations.

Marriage: In November 2010, Colleen moved to Kansas City to live with Donna. They were married May 19, 2012, in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Favorite activities: They enjoy going to the Chiefs training camp, wine tasting, cribbage and entertaining.

Careers and family: Donna is pastor at St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church in Kansas City.

What keeps their relationship strong: They love to play and laugh together. “We are devoted to each other, and our tough times bring us closer together,” Donna says.

The qualities they most appreciate in each other:

Colleen: “Donna is strong, supportive, brilliant and full of kindness. No one in the world is a better person for me to love and be with.”

Donna: “Colleen lights up a room. She’s inclusive, caring, and she loves helping people.”

Deborah Shouse is a freelance writer. Suggest a Love Story couple by writing to