Log In

Reset Password

Snapshot: Chris Gardner



Text Size

Family: My wife Kath; our son Andrew, who is now 22, and daughter Caroline, 19. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire in May and is now living in Boston, where he’s an accountant. Caroline is also at the University of New Hampshire, where she’s a freshman in the nursing school.

Pets: We have a cat, Teddy. He’s 2½ and still very playful.

How long have you lived in Newtown? I was born and raised here. I went away to college, then my wife and I came back and bought our house here in 1998. I’m a townie, which I’m proud to say.

Career: I work at Yale University. My title is Director of Communications for the Department of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine. I do a lot of science writing and media outreach to national and international publications for our faculty. I also do our social media, a newsletter every month, and a calendar every week. It’s a lot, but I love it.

Are you part of any local organizations? I’m on the Legislative Council, representing District 1, which is cool — it’s the district I grew up in. It’s a great part of Newtown. I’m in my second term. I was on the Board of Finance before that. I’m also a Senior Burgess for the Borough of Newtown, which is a lot of fun. I’m Keeper of the Flagpole. I’m also just became a member of Newtown Lions Club. I’m really excited about that. They do a lot of good stuff in the community, and I’m already helping with communications and the Mustang Raffle.

What do you like to do with your free time? Any time I can be outdoors is a good day. Kath and I love to hike as often as we can. I walk every day, even in the rain and snow. If there is a Red Sox game on, I will be watching that. I’m also a rabid fan of the New Jersey Devils. We also love to just hang out with our friends and spend time with them.

Who is your favorite author? John Grisham. I read The Firm between the junior and senior year in college, and just couldn’t put it down. I don’t have a lot of time to read — like everyone else — but when I do, I’ll pick up a John Grisham book. I also like David Baldacci, who writes some really fun stuff. I do so much heavy duty science writing, anything I can read that’s just fun, non-fiction, just keep turning pages. Nothing heavy.

Favorite book? The Firm, because that brought me into the world of Grisham and inspired me to keep reading his stuff. Thank goodness he’s kept writing all these years too because when I finish one he’s always got a new one out. I love going to The Friends of Booth Library Book Sale in the summer and seeing which one I need and which one I can give back. I’ve definitely made good use of the book sale.

Who or what has been the greatest influence on your life? My wife. She is the nicest, hardest working person that I know, and she truly puts herself last when it comes to anything in her life. She is always looking out for others and that is really selfless and very inspiring to me. I really do draw inspiration from her.

If you could spend the day with one person, living or deceased, who would you choose and why? My mother. She passed away four years ago, from cancer, kind of sudden, and I would just love to be able to spend a day not only with me, but her entire family — her seven grandchildren, my brother, my sister, their wives and husbands — just so we can all be together one last time and update her on what we’ve been up to. I really miss her. We might even invite my dad so he can buy dinner. (laughs)

What is the most recent movie you’ve seen in the theater? Oppenheimer, at Edmond Town Hall. It was long but definitely a must-see.

Favorite actor and/or movie genre? I love comedy. I have to go back to Chevy Chase, and the whole Vacation movie series. National Lampoon’s Vacation is my all-time favorite. I can quote the entire movie.

Favorite music genre and/or artist? Classic rock, and I’ve got two favorite artists: James Taylor and AC/DC. But I enjoy everything in between.

What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? This goes back to my journalism days, and this came from my grandfather, who was a newspaper editor for his entire career: Every story matters to someone, no matter how big or small it is. I think you can apply that to just about every facet of your life. When someone is talking to you, now matter how important you think it is to yourself, it’s obviously important to them. Let people speak and don’t just hear them. Listen closely.

Pet Peeves? It just happened to me. When I pull out of my street onto Route 25 and someone comes up Route 25 going 1,000 miles an hour, and while I’m trying to speed up, gets right on my tail and starts flashing their lights, as if I could see them coming from around the bend where I live. That drives me crazy. It has to do with excess speed in this town.

Favorite color? Blue.

What is something you cannot live without? My phone. Unfortunately, it’s become Mission Control in my life, between texting, family and friends, quick reference, I use it a lot for work, so I can’t live without it. I hate to say it but I think we’ve all become very dependent upon them. That, and chocolate chip cookies.

What is your proudest accomplishment? Raising two kind, respectful, and hard-working children.

What is your favorite travel destination? Aruba.

What is your favorite part about Newtown? That big flagpole. Obviously I feel strongly connected to it, given what I do as Keeper of the Flagpole, but there’s nothing like driving on Main Street, coming from the Brookfield side. There’s no other color that you can see, especially the time of year when everything is gray and black, and white, but you look at that flagpole and you see that red, white and blue waving in the wind … no matter how many times I pass that, it always makes me smile and brightens my day. I love looking at that when I’m coming down the hill.

What would you like to see covered in The Newtown Bee? That’s a hard one because The Bee does such an amazing job covering our community. It’s a treasure that should not be taken for granted. Maybe some more personality features, getting to know our neighbors a little more.

Do you have a personal credo? Treat people like you want to be treated yourself. If everyone was just a little bit nicer to one another, the world would be a much happier place.

Chris Gardner —Bee Photo, Hicks
Comments are open. Be civil.

Leave a Reply