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Partners for Life

August 11, 2007

Susan Peoples, from Bend, Oregon, and Lewis Sharp, from Westchester County, New York, met at Lewis & Clark in the early 1960s during what was then called freshman orientation. Despite the beanie on his head–de rigueur for new students at the time–she thought he looked intriguing.

The two got to know each other as part of a group of friends who shared a taste for Ingmar Bergman films. They started dating by the end of their first year.

Susan applauds Lewis & Clark’s pioneering role in exposing students to other languages and cultures through study abroad. When she decided to go to Austria on one of the College’s earliest overseas study programs, Lewis signed up too. In their case, the trip had the added bonus of helping to clarify Lewis’s career direction. 

The two married the week after graduation. Susan, an education major, taught for a year, then earned her masters in education while Lewis also attended graduate school. She continued to teach while they raised their two sons, born in 1971 and ‘72, in New York City–an urban family experience she remembers fondly.

That lifestyle changed dramatically with the Sharps’ move to Denver. By then they had adopted two daughters from Korea. “The boys were starting college, but the girls were 3 and 4, and we had to drive them everywhere, of course.”

Susan became active in her new community, serving on the boards of schools and doing volunteer work while raising their daughters. Now she has taken on the next generation, providing regular day care for grandchildren, aged 2 and 3, who live only two doors down from their grandparents.

As Susan and Lewis separately describe their life together, one senses that their initial attraction has grown and deepened through their 46 years together. He appreciates not only the sacrifices she’s made but her enthusiastic support for each step. She appreciates the many travel opportunities and enjoys the exposure to the arts and artists.

Most important by far, Lewis says, is Susan’s commitment to their family. “She’s been very wise always in understanding the priority of family.

“What more can you hope to get out of a college experience,” he asks, “than a good education and a partner for life?”

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