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Steve Petranik, in a Hawaiian shirt, and Ann Auman, in a black blouse, with the ocean and a few small islands in the background
Steve Petranik and Ann Auman. Photo by James Petranik

Steve Petranik and Ann Auman

A Varsity romance is still going strong after more than 30 years

Journalists Steve Petranik (BA 1980 St. Mike’s) and Ann Auman (BA 1978 UC, MBA 1987) met, fittingly, at the Varsity newspaper. Ann was a news writer who liked to hang out with the rowdier reviews staff, which included Steve. (Plus, Steve got free tickets to concerts; on their first official date they went to see Dead Boys and Teenage Head.) Steve is now the editor of Hawaii Business magazine and Ann is a professor at the School of Communications at the University of Hawaii and the journalism program chair. They live overlooking the Pacific Ocean, with their children, James, 20, and Aliya, 13. The couple celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in March, but it almost wasn’t to be…

Steve: We met in the late 1970s, and at parties we would dance to the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and the Sex Pistols. Even now we love to dance – even if it’s just in our living room. Springsteen is still a favourite, but so is Taylor Swift, who my daughter enjoys. We’re still trying to act young.

In 1980, Ann got a scholarship at the East-West Center in Hawaii, and she moved while I stayed in Toronto. We thought maybe it was over. I remember listening to Springsteen’s The River and thinking I had lost her; it was the saddest moment of my life. But we kept in touch – my phone bill was $200 a month! I flew out to see her in December and I proposed.

Ann, even before I met her, had been all over the world. The extent of my travels was a triangle of Sudbury, Montreal and Cleveland. I got into journalism because I wanted to see the world, but Ann took me there.

Ann: Steve threw great parties. He’s a good dancer and when he was younger, he knew how to toss that long hair. People said that he either looked like Ted Nugent or Jesus, depending on your state of mind.

When our first child was born, I was just starting my job as a professor. I would work all day while Steve was home with James, who was a very energetic child. Then I came home mid-afternoon. We would talk for a minute, then Steve was off to work the late shift at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. We rarely had time together. It was tiring, but Steve and I had such a strong love and trust that we made it work.

Steve’s also a smart newsman, and the best editor in Honolulu. We love to walk Lanikai beach near our house at sunrise, sunset or moonrise. It’s very romantic.

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