A story of love & life and celebrating all of it

By: 
Lisa Ingebrand, New Prague Times

Ben Schoenbauer and Jennie Kotzenmacher of St. Paul credit their New Prague friends and family--as well as fate--with bringing them together twice, ultimately launching their love story. The couple is pictured with their children, Ben (5), Luke (3), and Jack (1). (Photo courtesy of Jeannie Kotzenmacher)

This love story starts in the halls of New Prague Middle School back in 1993 when a boy and a girl first crossed paths, as seventh graders.

Jennie Kotzenmacher was the new girl in school with long red hair.

Ben Schoenbauer stood at an impressive 6-foot, 2-inches tall.

That’s pretty much all they remember of each other from those awkward teen years, but even those vague memories seem to sweeten their love story, which now includes almost 13 years of marriage, an incredible fight to live, and three young, active boys running through their St. Paul home.

“Looking back, I do remember Ben,” Jennie shared with a grin. “I didn’t know his name at the time, but I remember there was this really tall guy… I had no idea we were in the same grade. I thought he was older--eighth grade maybe, high-school perhaps, maybe even a teacher since he was taller than them!”

He remembers her “possibly” having been in his History class.

“There was a red head in class… I never asked her name,” explained Ben, who moved with his family to St. Paul the following year and went on to graduate from Johnson High School in 1999. He then studied mechanical engineering at the Air Force Academy in Colorado where he was recruited to play football.

Jennie graduated from New Prague High School in 1999. She then spent a year working as a nanny in Germany, before beginning her studies at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, where she utilized the study abroad programs to live in Australia, Sweden, and Germany.

Fate and long-standing friendships pulled both Jennie and Ben back home in 2004. Jennie was home from....

To see more on this story pick up the February 13, 2020 print edition of The New Prague Times. 

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