Love Story

A field trip led to a lasting bond

High school sweethearts Tina and Gino Martin of Kansas City will celebrate 27 years of marriage on July 4.
High school sweethearts Tina and Gino Martin of Kansas City will celebrate 27 years of marriage on July 4. Special to The Star

Even though Gino Martin liked Tina White, he thought she was off-limits. A good friend had introduced Gino to Tina during their freshman year at Westport High School. “I sensed my friend liked her, too,” Gino says.

But a year later, in the winter of 1981, when Gino and Tina were on a field trip together, Gino saw a chance to talk to her. He sat beside her on the school bus and the two had a good conversation.

First impressions:

Tina: “He was nice and sweet and so good-looking.”

Gino: “She was pretty and had a good personality.”

The unfolding: Though they’d had a great encounter, Gino didn’t pursue Tina. That spring, they saw each other at a party. Once again, they had a good conversation. Gino asked Tina for a dance; afterward he asked if he could visit her at home the following day. She agreed.

The next day, after being welcomed by her family, Gino talked and laughed with Tina. They began hanging out, walking to school together and going to the park, Worlds of Fun and more. Within two months, both realized they were in love.

The wedding: As their relationship deepened, they began talking about getting married. Gino even picked out the name of their future son — Tino. They selected a jeweler and began dreaming about and planning the wedding with family and friends. They were both 21 when they wed on July 4, 1987, at Paseo Baptist Church in Kansas City.

Favorite shared activities and hobbies: “We are inseparable,” Tina says. They enjoy going to movies and the theater and dining out. They like to play cards and they relish cooking together. They also love to travel and feel that vacations enrich their relationship.

Careers: Gino has been an autoworker at Ford for 27 years. Tina has worked in the health care field since 1986.

Family: Their son, Tino, is a 20-year-old honor student at William Jewell College in Liberty.

What keeps their relationship strong: “Communication and laughter,” Tina says. Though they have their differences — Tina is very neat and Gino is rather messy — they focus on what they have in common and accept each other as they are.

The qualities they most appreciate in each other:

Tina: “Gino is kind and supportive. He’s a good husband, a great father and he’s my best friend. We still hold hands a lot. The love and connection we have is rare.”

Gino: “Tina’s a good wife, a great mother and a wonderful buddy. She makes me happy and peaceful.”

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