S: Our Wedding: Stephen and Darlene Hilton, September 4, 1971
BC: Then came Becky, Joey, Peter, Jacob, Daniel, Mary and Ben. Following them were21 grandchildren as of September 2012... with more yet to come. We will love each one of you always and forever and forever
FC: At the Oakland California Temple | Stephen Hilton and Darlene Ripley were married for time and eternity September 4, 1971
1: This is our Story: The Summer of 1970 I was 26 years old and Darlene was 22. This Summer as destined for great importance for both of us even though it wasn't starting out well. My girlfriend had just told me good bye and Darlene's boyfriend wasn't working out well either. When I got home for Summer break I went into the personnel office at Kaiser Hospital in Walnut Creek to apply for a Summer job which I had previously lined up with the hospital administrator, an acquaintance of my father's. I wasn't looking forward to anything special much less meeting my future wife, but there she was sitting behind a desk, long blond hair, cute smile, short skirt and a a friendly hello, and she was drop dead, movie star gorgeous. I was wearing my army glasses which were not particularly flattering and I had not taken particular care in my grooming that morning. Darlene said she thought I looked like a turkey. I told her I had come for a job which had been arranged with Mr. Wyatt. She checked with her boss and told me no one knew of me or my arrangement. Of course I became somewhat concerned and asked if she would please check to see if there had been some mistake. She said she would check and in the meantime would I please fill out a job application. As she was efficiently going about her business I kept glancing at her to be sure she was really as beautiful as I originally thought. After I gave her the application she told me to come back in a couple of hours for an interview and I welcomed the opportunity to put in my contact lenses and dress a little nicer. When I returned Darlene was more favorably impressed as she later told me. The mix up on the arranged job was straightened out and I worked that Summer as an orderly - a detestable job as far as I was concerned, but I made pretty good money and I saw Darlene frequently which helped soothe my broken heart. I visited with her during my 15 minute breaks that sometimes lasted 45 minutes, and we got to be pretty good friends. I could tell she wanted to go out with me but I had had bad experiences with non-LDS girls before and I was skeptical that we would share the same values and interests on a date. I was in an Institute Vaudeville show that summer and Darlene said she would like to see it. So I told her where we were performing and she and her sister Gail showed up. I didn't really expect her to show up and if she did she would not think it worthwhile. But she enjoyed it and I was pleased that she did. Even after seeing me in a silly church show she still acted like she wanted to go out. It was especially obvious when I came in on my break one day and all her co-workers got up and left us alone in the office making various excuses as to why they were leaving. So I finally asked her out to the Oakland Temple Pageant. I really thought she would not be interested because I considered her quite a woman of the world. But quite the contrary, she was full of questions and watched the story of the restoration with great interest. After our date I walked her to her door and told her what an enjoyable evening I had had and began to turn away when she reached out and with both her hands on my shoulders placed a soft kiss right on my surprised lips. She smiled and said good night and I floated down the stops and to my car wondering why I was so attracted to this beautiful girl. Our second date was to Sacrament Meeting where I spoke and then swimming at George Baker's house. We continued to date quite steadily from then on and I arranged for her to take the missionary lessons. After an experience during the second lesson when one of the Stake Missionaries slept while the other tried to force Darlene to pray out loud, we waited until a new set of missionaries come and then continued the lessons. One night we were engaged in our favorite pastime (mine at least) of kissing and stuff, I remarked in my passion how I would like to be married (so we wouldn't have to control our affections). Darlene took me at my word and said she'd like to marry me too and from then on Darlene considered us engaged. Well, I thought an engagement required more than a casual comment and when I went back to college a few days later, I didn't consider us engaged, but she did. As a matter of fact I was wondering if it would all be over as soon as we parted. But that didn't happen.
2: Darlene, faithful to me, finished the missionary lessons and requested baptism. We thought it would be nice if she could come with my folks to October conference and I could baptize her there in Provo. So on October 2, 1970 I baptized Darlene Marie Ripley, my wife to be, into the church. I also confirmed her with the help of my father. It was a great experience. But I still didn't feel we were engaged. We would write daily and talk on the phone every Friday night. I knew we were in love but I had been in love before and felt somewhat cynical about it. At Thanksgiving I went home for the holiday. As I was laying on the garage floor looking at my Volkswagen engine, because it wasn't running right, I saw a car stop across the street and this beautiful girl step out wearing a goldish green knit dress. Her golden hair fell light as mist around her shoulders and she walked into the garage followed by her parents who had come to meet this stranger who had so changed their daughter's life. I didn't hardly notice her parents thought because at that moment all I could think about was that I knew I would marry her if somehow I could trick her into saying yes. From that moment on I felt totally engaged and during dinner I talked of an engagement party in December and about how we should wait until we could marry in the temple. Darlene was a little surprised at my apparent commitment but took it in course. When I went back to school it was I who thought we were engaged and Darlene who wasn't sure. Since we had scheduled an engagement party in December to announce our engagement she didn't think it was official until then. So she dated and I didn't. Well on December 20, 1970 we made it official and everyone including us knew then that we were officially engaged to be married. Darlene moved to Provo in February and worked at a bank in Salt Lake City. We both worked in the Salt Lake City area during the summer of 1971 and traveled back to the Bay Area to be married on September 4, 1971 only 11 months and 2 days after she was baptized. This early ceremony was made possible only through special permission received from the Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith. We then moved into our first home in a basement apartment in Orem, Utah, where eight months later Darlene became pregnant with our first child, Rebecca Marie.
3: Steve Kay, a foster child in the Hilton home, was the ring bearer and Darlene got the surprise of her life. I think she was thrilled. We cut the cake and friends and family helped us celebrate. | Together we announced our engagement Dec 20, 1970 at the Hilton home in Walnut Creek, California. Darlene didn't know she was getting a ring. We talked, Steve sang For Emily Wherever I May Find Her. Darlene cried, Steve did too. "I love you girl, oh how I love you." | Guests included Diana Mackey, Gail Ripley, Mom Hilton, Russ Blake, Mom Ripley, George and Nola Baker, Dad Ripley, Lou and Marilyn Schofield, Tom Hilton, Anita and Joe Hilton. On the floor are Billy Hilton and Steve Kaye. Dad Hilton took the picture.
4: Darlene was given a bridal shower by her friends, Mom Hilton and her sister Gail. The wedding announcement was sent out to hundreds of family, friends, neighbors and associates of the parents.
5: Finally after nine months of engagement, the day arrived. September 4, 1971 was a beautiful late Summer day and for us it was what we had waited for all our lives. We kissed, we talked, we kissed, we posed for pictures, we kissed some more. The rings said it all, a circle does not have an end and neither does our love for each other. We were now sealed to each other and to our children forever.
6: What was I saying to her? I hope it was "I will love and protect you, provide for you, cherish you, care for you and respect you. You are safe with me. You are my sweetheart, my forever, my wife." | We had no idea what life held for us, but we felt that as long as we could be together, we would be able to take whatever life had to give.
7: Darlene was a gorgeous bride, and her parents were so proud of her.
8: It was our day and we loved it.
10: The luncheon at the Hilton home was a time to get to know each other better! Ummmmmm!!
11: The reception was well attended. We had fun, ate cake and not too many wanted to kiss the bride, but the groom sure did! | George Baker and Ralph and Nita Ruth
12: Joe and Opah and Gramma Ruth | The bridesmaids were Gail Ripley, Nancy Williams and Pam Linton | The guests included Roger Crandall and Uncle John
13: Then it was time to leave. | The T-Bird was courtesy of George Baker because our car was wrecked the day before our wedding. Ask Darlene about it. There was a note on the horn telling how to remove the trash can lid that was chained to the rear axle. | The '57 T-Bird was courtesy of George Baker. There was a note on the horn telling how to remove the trash can lid that was chained to the rear axle. | Jennifer Sawyer carried the flowers | Our car was wrecked two days before the wedding when Darlene was hit at an intersection in Concord. A former boyfriend of Darlene's saw her standing by the car and asked her for a date. She had to decline because she was already booked.
14: The honeymoon was at the family cabin in Clear Lake with a drive home along the Pacific Coast. Highway. I fell more in love with Darlene each day.
15: Then we went to our first home. A basement apartment in Orem. We had another year at BYU before graduation. And they lived happily ever after.