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Power couples

January 17, 1997

Ferdinand and Isabella, James and Dolley Madison, Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, Bob and Liddy Dole, Hillary and Bill Clinton.

The mention of these names conjures up images of success and charisma. One of these couples will be standing on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., tomorrow at the pinnacle of our nation's power.

We talked to a few couples who are closer to home. Their careers and community commitment have given them a degree of prominence. They all chuckled at the thought of being considered "power" couples. Some worried about being viewed as presumptuous.

Whether in business, the courtroom, public service or community organizations, these individuals have full schedules outside the home as well as in it. We were curious to learn a little about how they make it all work - together.

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Mutual respect and affection and a willingness to step outside traditional gender-based roles to share responsibilities are common traits. A good sense of humor is a universal quality among these people.

We thank them for giving us a glimpse of their lives beyond their titles and job descriptions. We hope our readers will enjoy getting to know them as much as we did.

Carl and Sharon Disque

By KATE COLEMAN

Staff Writer

Sharon Disque is Washington County's Economic Development Coordinator. She provides information about the area to businesses considering locating here. The University of Virginia economics major is knowledgeable and well-prepared for a position vital to the future of the community. But it is more than a job. Sharon Disque loves her adopted hometown. She said she felt anonymous growing up in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Fairfax, Va. "You don't feel an obligation to your community."

Her husband, Carl Disque, was a law clerk for Washington County Circuit Court from 1984 to 1985 and enjoyed working here. The couple decided to make Hagerstown their home.

Working for himself the past four years in the practice of general law has provided Carl Disque with flexibility that helps his family.

Most of Sharon Disque's work-related out-of-town travel consists of daytrips - very long days - but daytrips nonetheless. The couple has one child, an 8-year-old son, Eric. "I think of it as time they need together," Sharon Disque said. When out-of-town seminars and retreats are required, Carl Disque and Eric have tried to tag along - at their own expense of course - even when Eric was an infant and Sharon Disque still was nursing him.

The Disques take advantage of Hagerstown's size by appreciating little things like being able to have lunch together - not as often as they used to or would like, stopping in for a quick hello at the office and being close to school and soccer. Eric had the same day-care provider for years, and Carl Disque's mother lives nearby. Neighbors, two of whom play in Carl Disque's blues band, 2Blue Ensemble, also are supportive friends.

Carl Disque, who plays saxophone, appreciates his family's support of his passion for music. He said although Eric is unimpressed by his father's legal career, he thinks it's really cool that his dad's in a band.

Household tasks

The couple shares some household tasks, and Carl Disque admitted to not doing enough. He loves to cook, however, and specializes in chicken/pasta/vegetable one-dish dinners. Despite the fact that her husband spends more and buys more unhealthful foods, Sharon Disque grinned when she said he does the grocery shopping.

"I love to shop. I like to attack the store. I'm on a mission," Carl Disque said.

Carl Disque grew up in a household in which both parents worked outside the home, so the concept is normal for him. He thinks he and his wife dealt with any role conflicts early in their marriage when he was a law student at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., and Sharon Disque worked full time in the law library.

The Disques are not anonymous here. They are active in arts council events, preservation efforts and sister-city projects. Carl Disque believes there's some "educational spillover" to having his son be aware of his parents' involvement in community activities. There is some evidence for the case he makes. Eric wanted to participate in the local heart association's jump rope fund-raiser. He solicited quite a few pledges at his father's Rotary meeting.

Ed and Suzanne Hayes

By KATE COLEMAN

Staff Writer

"There's no power, only balance," said Suzanne Hayes with a laugh. The Hagerstown stockbroker with Wheat First Butcher Singer is married to Ed Hayes, an agronomist who was elected to Washington County Board of Education last November.

The couple and their children, Lindsey, 8, and Dan, 6, live on the 200-acre farm near Downsville where Suzanne Downey Hayes grew up.

How does this pair manage two careers, community involvement, a family and time for each other? "We obviously work at making it work," Ed Hayes answered.

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