RIGHT TIME RIGHT PLACE: She saved his life and that started their courtship

Dr. David Bevans and his wife, Julie, met in college, after she was chosen to be his Sigma Nu little sister. “It was kind of crazy,” he says. “It’s kind of mellowed out for us lately but we have a grandson now so it’s a different kind of crazy.”
(Special to the Democrat-Gazette)
Dr. David Bevans and his wife, Julie, met in college, after she was chosen to be his Sigma Nu little sister. “It was kind of crazy,” he says. “It’s kind of mellowed out for us lately but we have a grandson now so it’s a different kind of crazy.” (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)

Julie Winscott was paired with David Bevans by chance, then she was in the right place at just the right time to save his life.

Julie was a freshman at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville in January 1986. David, a sophomore, was a Sigma Nu, and his "little sister" hadn't returned to school for the spring semester.

His name, along with all the other fraternity members who needed a new sister, was tossed in a hat -- and it was Julie who pulled it out.

"I didn't know who he was," says Julie, who briefly entertained an offer to switch names with another "little sister."

She didn't know the "brother" whose name that girl had drawn either, though.

"Someone else said, 'Oh, I know David. You're going to love him. Don't trade,'" Julie says.

David picked her up later so they could get to know each other over Cokes.

"I didn't tell him but I was like, 'I don't think I've ever seen anyone that handsome in my life,'" she says. "That's when I told my mom I had met [the man] I was going to marry."

David thought Julie was cute but had no intention of violating protocol.

"I'm a stickler for rules, so I was thinking that we were never going to date because you're not really supposed to date your little sister," says David, who also had a girlfriend then.

One Sunday evening that next winter, David was playing football with some of his fraternity brothers. Someone dove for the ball and hit him in the temple with a knee.

David shared an apartment with his brother, who had seen him get up and get ready for class the morning after the accident and then left for class himself, unaware David didn't make it out the door. Julie found David, sick and disoriented, when she stopped by that afternoon to drop something off.

David's father, a surgeon, called while she was there and, upon hearing about David's condition, told Julie to get him to the emergency room.

There was ice falling outside while Julie sat with David in an exam room and listened as he told a nurse he did not have a headache and had not thrown up, and she corrected the record immediately so they wouldn't just send him home.

Doctors determined he needed surgery -- immediately -- because blood had filled the space between his skull and his brain, creating a dangerous pressure in his head.

"This doctor said, 'He has an epidural hematoma and his parents want him to be med-flighted to North Little Rock but he doesn't have time left,'" Julie recalls.

David's brother arrived as he was being wheeled back for surgery, and David's girlfriend and several of his fraternity brothers and her sorority sisters showed up later, but Julie sat alone in the waiting room.

"The doctor would send someone out to update us and they would come straight to me because I was the one who had been there with him from the beginning," she says.

David was still recovering when they went with a group to Florida for spring break months later.

"Of course, I was totally in love with him," she says. "He didn't feel the same about me yet."

The summer before Julie's junior year, David went with a longtime friend of Julie's to their hometown, Joplin, Mo. They met Julie and her boyfriend at the lake that weekend to go skiing.

"I just realized that she was the one I wanted to be with, not the girl I was with," David says.

Their first date was dinner in Fayetteville, where Julie scarfed down most of her pork chops before David finished meticulously assembling his fajitas.

They dated throughout her junior year and his senior year, and then he went to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. Julie graduated a year later and got a job in Little Rock.

David was visiting Julie's family for Thanksgiving in 1988. He had planned to pop the question during a horseback ride on the family's farm, but rain all weekend meant hours of playing video games with Julie's younger brother instead.

"I basically got down on one knee in the middle of dinner," David says.

They were married on July 22, 1989, in a Baptist church in Joplin.

"It rained, right when we were getting ready to leave," Julie says. "Someone said it was really good luck if it rains on your wedding day but I didn't know why until years later."

A knot that gets wet, she explains, is impossible to untie.

"We were married three years of his medical school and five years of his residency," Julie says. "That was tough, but we did it."

David is a general surgeon with Pulaski Surgery Clinic in North Little Rock. Julie owns an invitation printing business, The Paper Porch. They have two children -- Bailey, who lives in Dallas, and Chase, who lives in Rogers.

"I drew his name out of a hat," she says. "it's really strange to think about how it all worked out."

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The first time I saw my future spouse:

She says: "I just thought he was so handsome."

He says: "I thought, 'Ive got a cute little sister."

On our wedding day:

She says: "One of my bridesmaids ripped her dress on a folding chair and I told her to just put tape on it and it would be fine. I was so glad to be getting married to him, thats all I cared about."

He says: "We put bubble bath in the hot tub and it flew all over in the bed and breakfast room we stayed in in Eureka Springs that night. We were scooping bubbles out of that thing for about two hours."

My advice for a long happy marriage:

She says: "Never give up. You just go through rough times and you kind of go back and remember how you picked your person and why."

He says: "Be patient and be willing to compromise and overlook things you might see as other peoples faults."


  photo  Julie Winscott and Dr. David Bevans were married on July 22, 1989. She was supposed to be at her Tri Delta sorority Christmas party in 1986 but she sat at the hospital that night while David had a craniotomy to address an epidural hematoma that threatened his life instead. “All my friends knew I was in love with him, and I wasn’t going to just leave the hospital.” (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)

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