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Monday, January 31, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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A fairy-tale romance with a park wedding

Seattle Times Troubleshooter

Victoria Doyle and Jack Huster were married yesterday in West Seattle's Lincoln Park, more than a year after he proposed marriage to help solve insurance problems she has as a heart-transplant survivor.

But yesterday's "we dos" had nothing to do with insurance. Doyle and Huster's story is a romantic fairy tale, certainly equal to scripts written for Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.

With gray skies above, the waters of Puget Sound lapping against the beach and an occasional Fauntleroy-Vashon ferry passing by, Doyle, 42, -and Huster, 36, were married by priests of a local group associated with the British Druid Order. (Druids, an intellectual and religious caste among the tribal peoples of pagan Europe, were the custodians of cultural and spiritual heritage.)

Yesterday, layered clothing was the fashion, with Doyle wearing black jeans and a turtleneck, a black fur hat and a long, burgundy embroidered vest. The bridegroom rolled up his trouser cuffs to reveal thermal underwear.

"Taking their vows

Before the couple spoke their vows, the approximately 60 people attending marched around the beach in opposite directions, then formed a circle.

Kathie Brooks, priestess and goddess guardian for the ceremony, asked the couple:

"As the sun and moon bring light to the Earth, do you Victoria and Jack vow to bring the light of love and joy to your union?"

"We do," the couple answered in unison.

"And do you vow to honor each other as you honor that which you hold most sacred?"

"We do."

"And do you vow to maintain these vows in freedom, for as long as love shall last?"

Again they said, "We do."

Then Gordon Goodykoontz, priest and god guardian, said:

"Let the stone bear witness that Victoria and Jack are joined in love and joy and freedom!"

Those in the circle followed with, "So let it be!" Meeting online

Doyle and Huster met a couple of years ago in an Internet chat room. They had much in common; she understood and appreciated his wit and he understood hers.

"It was common weirdness," Huster said. They liked some of the same books and riddles. By July 1998, they communicated so well they decided to meet - in person. They chose a Borders Books coffee shop in Chicago.

Though they had exchanged photos on the Internet, Huster said he had difficulty believing the woman he had corresponded with was so beautiful.

On the way to their date he told himself, "Yeah right. What am I doing? I should turn around.?"

As Huster walked toward her at the store's coffee shop, he looked more like someone backing away, Doyle said.

After that meeting their relationship blossomed and they kept in touch via e-mail and phone. Just before Christmas 1998 she received some bad news.

It appeared that Regence BlueShield, her insurance carrier, no longer would pay for the anti-rejection drugs that have kept her alive since the heart transplant in July 1991.

With only three days of drugs on hand, the news was virtually a death sentence. Huster found it particularly intolerable, because his first wife, Kathy, died of a heart condition in 1987. It didn't seem fair that it would happen again to someone so close.

Huster, a Fort Wayne, Ind., postal worker, made a proposal: If Doyle's insurance would not cover the prescriptions, he would marry her and provide insurance that would pay.

"I wasn't going to stand by and see her die," Huster said.

He sent her papers to complete for a marriage license and reserved a date with a judge.

In the meantime he peppered the media - including The Times Troubleshooter - and the state insurance commissioner's office with e-mails and faxes about Doyle's plight.

Then Regence had a change of heart and decided to pay for the drugs.

While that was great news, it came as a letdown for the would-be bridal pair.

"I almost didn't want to tell him it was going to work out. We were both a bit disappointed when we didn't have to get married," she said.

Huster canceled the date with the judge but had second thoughts, too. He remembers telling a co-worker in great detail about Victoria. The co-worker made him realize that he had strong feelings for her.

"I guess I need to have a piano drop on me before I realize certain things. I finally thought to myself, `So what do you want, Jack, a burning bush to tell you what to do?' "

Last November, Huster packed up his cats and household goods, took a pay cut from his job with the U.S. Postal Service and relocated here.

Yesterday the grinning bridegroom said:

"No, we're not getting married just because of the insurance.

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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