How We Met: Opposites Do Attract
Getting past political differences
Elizabeth DiSalvo frantically searched for a table at Steve’s Bagels. The frazzled single mom was juggling a career, a hungry four year old, and the breakfast she hoped might improve a day already gone bad. Never did she dream that it would be a time that would change her life.
Elizabeth, a self-proclaimed “screaming liberal,” couldn’t wait to leave conservative Ridgefield after graduating high school in 1984. Armed with an architecture degree from RPI, she moved to Los Angeles where she got her feet wet on cutting-edge architecture. From there it was Colorado where she found a progressive attitude, one that fueled her interest in “green” building. She learned about solar panels, environmentally friendly products, and Net Zero–rated homes.
It was then onto New York City where she acquired a Masters of Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University and worked on huge projects like re-furbishing Grand Central Terminal. In 2004 she started her own firm, Trillium Architects, where she creates sustainable spaces with lead-edge design.
Elizabeth returned to Ridgefield because it was an ideal place to raise her son, although not all that easy a place to find an empty table at Steve’s Bagels.
Meanwhile, Bob Donohue’s path was more laid-back. He is a conservative Republican who never found Ridgefield all that confining. After graduating from Niagara University with a marketing degree, Bob did not see himself as a sit-behind-the-desk guy. Today you might recognize him as the go-to facilities person at The Prospector Theater. He is also a much-in-demand bartender for a high-end caterer in Bedford and Greenwich. A number of clients call him the “party husband” because he is “helpful, attentive, and fun.”
So maybe it isn’t a surprise that while relaxing with his newspaper at Steve’s on that serendipitous morning, Bob invited the frantic Elizabeth and her son to share his table. Bob was just doing what comes naturally, being nice. “I recognized him right away, though he didn’t recognize me,” says Elizabeth, who was in his younger brother’s homeroom. “He was a cute, star lacrosse player in high school while I was in middle school.”
Bob, an RHS Class of ’79 graduate certainly hadn’t noticed a middle-school girl with a slight crush back then. But he did recognize Elizabeth as the woman who often ran past his house in town. “She was always hidden behind big glasses and a hat, but I recognized her.”
After their Steve’s encounter, both tried to pop in at the right time on the right day. Seven years later in 2016, they married on Valentine’s Day at the Lounsbury House. In spite of their different political points of view, they found that they weren’t as opposite as they thought. Bob is one of Elizabeth’s biggest business promoters—she says he constantly offers “brilliant marketing ideas.”
Together the couple added 1,400 square feet of sustainable living space to their home. And Elizabeth is one of Bob’s biggest fans. “One of the main reasons I love Bob so much is because he is a great guy. He is a giver.”