A wrestling coach, a lower school teacher, and three spirited children are the first things that come to mind when thinking of the Sommerville family. Mr. and Mrs. Sommerville are the “it” couple at school, beating out other faculty pairs such as the Coales, the Halls and the Cunninghams this year. What makes their pairing so ideal? Is it their passion-filled relationship? Their everlasting love for one another? Or maybe their proximity in the work environment? No, it is actually none of those. It was one delicious bowl of stir fry that had Mr. “Coach” Sommerville head-over-heels for Ms. Karen.
Twenty-two years ago a man on the hunt for a wife, and a woman working her way up the corporate ladder, who were just friends, decided to take their relationship to the next level after Mr. Sommerville had an “upper room experience” with the big man himself. It was not Mr. Sommerville who asked Mrs. Sommerville on their first date; Mrs. Sommerville decided it was time to make the first move. Inviting him back to her new apartment, she cooked him what she thought was a delicious bowl of stir fry and rice (the trendy meal back then). With high hopes of impressing her man, she failed in every way. It turned out that Coach hates stir fry, but that didn’t stop him from confessing his love for her after the meal. He told Mrs. Sommerville, “When I give my heart, I give 100% of it.” Mrs. Sommerville was speechless.
It was in July 1993, in the very church that they met, where the Sommervilles professed their devotion to one another in a wedding ceremony attended by the Pace wrestling team and the Cunninghams, among many other Pace faculty members and hundreds of other guests. It was a given that stir fry was not served at the reception. Two years later Symone was born, shortly followed by Sydney, then Mark. Now two decades later, the Sommervilles have become a fixture within the Pace community. One can hardly imagine coming to school without being warmly greeted by Coach or having a conversation with Mrs. Sommerville.
Though they rarely get to see each other at school, they still manage to enjoy some time together, making a point to have lunch dates in the cafeteria on the days that stir fry is served. They do not get to carpool together, and only briefly pass each other every few days, but both agree that this is the perfect balance. When asked what they love about one another, Mr. Sommerville said that he “loves her spirit, how willing she is to help others, to pray for them, and give of herself.” He looks at her as he confesses how lucky he is “to call her a wife and a friend.” Mrs. Sommerville loves it when her husband gets her flowers, lights candles and runs a bubble bath for her after a long day. Although Mr. Sommerville says that his ideal date night is going to a Pace basketball game, Mrs. Sommerville disagrees. But after having interviewed both of them, it was blatantly clear how after 22 years, they still have the same amount of love and passion that they shared over that first bowl of stir fry.