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Snapshot: Martha Friar

Occupation: I’m retired from Praxair, Inc in Danbury. I was a lawyer in the law department for 23 years. Now I volunteer at Danbury Hospital in the Praxair Center, and with Meals On Wheels in Newtown.

Family: My husband, Jeff Wilkins, practices law in Westport. Our son Jim is 26 years old, and is a paralegal at Crafath, Swaine, and Moore in New York City. Our son Dave, 24, graduates from Georgetown Law School later this month, and is starting a fellowship with Immigrant Justice Corps in New York City. I’m excited that both boys will be in New York City.

Pets: We have a cat, Zig-Zag, or Ziggy, as she’s nicknamed. She’s 14 years old.

How long have you lived in Newtown? We moved to Newtown in 1985, because it was an easy commute to my job in Danbury and seemed like a good place to start a family. Jeff grew up in Westport, and I grew up in St Paul, Minn., but moved to Wilton when I was in high school I went to Central High School in Norwalk, then Boston College, and got my law degree from UConn, where I met Jeff.

What do you like to do in your free time? I like to walk with friends, often up at Fairfield Hills or by the Governor’s Horse Guard. I belong to a book group and a Bunco group with a bunch of wonderful women. Jeff and I have season tickets to Yale Repertory Theatre and the Goodspeed Opera House. We love going to the movies at Bethel Cinema and going to concerts and museums. We love all sorts of music.

Do you have a favorite book? In my book group, we have started reading Someone by Alice McDermott; my favorite book is always the one I last read. I recently read Ann Patchett’s book of her essays, This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage, I really enjoyed it. It was very personal.

Do you have a favorite travel destination? Not really a favorite. It’s usually wherever I went last, kind of like the last book I read. Last October we went on a river cruise on the Danube, from Budapest to Prague. And I just got my senior pass to all of the National Parks, so I’m excited to use it. Maybe next spring.

What is the best thing about Newtown? When I think of Newtown, I think of the Proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.” Newtown is a very nurturing and supportive community for parents and children. It was a wonderful place to raise our children. They got a good education here, from Newtown Congregational Cooperative Nursery School right through high school.

Who has been the greatest influence in your life? Definitely my parents, who raised nine children — and I’m the oldest. They were very good role models for good parenting. They always had a united front with us kids. They emphasized educational achievement, giving back to the community, and an appreciation of the arts. They had a strong religious faith. My dad died in 2006, but my mom is still going strong at age 86.

Do you have a personal philosophy? One I believe in is, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” And my dad would always say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” which I try to follow, not always successfully.

Do you have a guilty pleasure? Ice cream from Ferris Acres Creamery. I love the Buttercrunch, but they don’t always have it.

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