The case was State vs. Tillery, the defendant a child molester. The young, pretty prosecutor was not long out of law school, but she handily won the case against opposing counsel, a tall, handsome court-appointed attorney. She noticed his blue eyes and imposing height. He admired her petite shape. That was how Nola Foulston met her future husband. “She’s always told everybody a child molester introduced us,” says Steve Foulston. The two lawyers found themselves on opposing sides of the courtroom again in State vs. Evans “the flower shop rape case” — and she beat him one more time — before he finally asked her out.
“She was a cute little skinny thing,” Steve says.
“Is that what you thought?” Nola replies, with mock indignation, “You weren’t after my mind?“
Nola and Steve dated on and off for four years, in spite of Steve’s reputation as “the town rake.” When other lawyers tried to warn Nola she brushed it off, saying, “He’s a lot of fun — I like him.”
The couple finally made it legal, getting married in January of 1982. At first Steve relegated Nola’s two dogs to the back porch, but when they whined and cried incessantly he finally relented and allowed them into the guest bedroom. More whining and crying. Finally Nola insisted, “My dogs are just not happy — they sleep on my bed!” and the canines were ushered into the inner sanctum.
“He’s great,” Nola says, “and you know, the funny thing is, all the dogs go to him on his side of the bed if they want to go out."
“They know I’m the weak link,” Steve quips.
Their menagerie grew over the years and now includes five dogs, a horse and Houdini the cat. “Steve calls our house Nola’s ark,” she says, chuckling.
The couple made it legal in 1982
“I loved — absolutely loved being a prosecutor, and I loved being the District Attorney,” says Nola. “Elementally they were exactly what I wanted to do: justice, helping people, working for the community.” She was called out to homicide scenes at all hours. “I’d be putting on my jeans and leaving at 3:00 in the morning, so he’d wake up and wouldn’t know where his wife was — but I think he figured it out.”
Once, when their son, Andrew, was small, they were all at the movies when Nola received a call from 911. They left in the middle of the movie. “We had the Suburban, the baby seat and the parents and we went to a crime scene.” Nola parked off to the side, and Steve waited with Andrew in the car while his wife consulted with police officers and reviewed evidence.
“My daddy sues people and my mommy puts people in jail,” Andrew wrote in a first-grade paper, and — while proud of his attorney parents — he decided against going into the family business, and recently graduated from Kansas University with his master’s degree in accounting.
During 24 years as a highly respected DA, Nola brought notorious killers to justice and appeared before the Supreme Court. “She’s always been the public face,” says Steve, “and I’ve always been real proud of her. I let her do all the talking and just kind of sit back and listen… I’ve always tried to support her in any way that I could.”
That included in sickness and in health. “He is my rock,” says Nola. “When I was really sick with MS, this was the guy that took care of me. He was my nursemaid and he was my best friend.” Steve’s TLC worked wonders: today Nola is back in the pink.
The bonds of love
35 years after their courtroom-drama-turned-romance, the law is still central to the Foulston’s marriage. Nola retired from public office last year and now works in private practice for Hutton & Hutton Law Firm. Steve also offices there, heading up Foulston Law Office and specializing in mass tort litigation and prescription drug cases. “Occasionally he’ll come over to my office and peek in, or I’ll go over to his office and peek in,” says Nola. The couple enjoys discussing and consulting on cases, and have even worked together over the years.
Outside of the office the Foulstons collaborate on furnishing their Spanish colonial home in Eastborough, and they both love history and watching scary movies. “We enjoy a really good relationship; we think alike,” says Nola. “We have some similar interests and some very dissimilar interests and we pursue those.” Steve loves to golf — Nola, not so much. She has a flair for cooking fine cuisine, but he’s a hot-dogs-and–hamburgers kind of guy, so they each cultivate separate circles of friends who cater to their individual passions.
“I’d say we just kind of let each other do our own thing,“ says Steve. “We work together, we work separately,” Nola chimes in. “We both have to agree on major issues — and we always do…I can’t think of anybody I’d rather be with for the rest of my life than Steve. He’s irreplaceable.” She grins. “Not to mention, I do not wish to train another.”