Snapshot: Janice Garten
Occupation: I have always been a homemaker. My husband, who everyone called Al, was the CEO of an international company, so I was always very active with things with him and we made many business moves. I did a lot of volunteer work and was on several boards. In those days being a corporate wife was an occupation. Much was expected of a wife in those days.
Family: Al was born in East Germany and escaped from the communists. He worked for the American Air Force until he got a visa to come to the United States. After three weeks here, he joined the Air Force. He was very conscientious. Then he went to the University of Tennessee and that’s where we met. We were married for 50 years.
I have a son who lives in Hartford, a daughter who lives in New Milford, and another daughter who lives in Texas. I also have three grandchildren.
How long have you lived in Newtown? I moved here in 2010, a few years after my husband died.
What do you like to do in your free time? I used to be very active with gardening when I lived in Rowayton. Now I enjoy doing a lot of reading and participating in various activities with friends. Before COVID, I enjoyed attending my grandson’s sporting events, theater productions, and such.
Do you have a favorite book genre? I like reading historic fiction and mysteries.
What is your favorite travel destination? My husband and I traveled extensively and have been all over the world. We had a condo in the Austrian Alps for over 25 years that we’d go to for the holidays; we did a lot of downhill skiing.
Before the pandemic, I would go to Hawaii one year then Aruba the next year for the month of February. I love the beach and the warmth of the sun.
What is the best part about Newtown? The Senior Center has been a lifesaver for me. When I moved to Newtown, I didn’t know anyone at all. I joined the Senior Center during my second year here and have been active there ever since. During this pandemic, if I didn’t have Judy Thomas or Natalie Jackson organizing things, it would be very difficult to get through this situation, but they’ve been wonderful. Thank God we have this new facility. It’s been wonderful. Also, Amy Mangold with Parks & Recreation has been a godsend setting up activities.
What organizations are you part of in Newtown? I’m on the board of Friends of Newtown Seniors (FONS). I’ve served on the Church Council at Christ the King Lutheran Church and organized the senior group, OWLS (Older Wiser Lutherans). I’ve also been active at the Newtown Senior Center. I’ve enjoyed my involvement organizing the parties for the seniors in Newtown after we opened and the Christmas party.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life? Definitely my husband.
If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? Again, it would have to be my husband. I had a very strong, loving marriage. Because we lived abroad for so many years, our family was very strong. Family is very important to me.
Who is your favorite musical artist? I love classical music and Johann Strauss. I have Alexa play Strauss, Mozart, and Beethoven in my home most of the time.
Do you have a favorite TV show? I like watching British shows. I was a fan of Downton Abbey.
What is your favorite food? I enjoy most ethnic foods. I love going to Germany and eating all my favorite foods. When my husband was alive, we’d go there every fall for a month to travel around Germany and Austria.
What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? Work hard and play hard. Also, to make the best in life of what you have. Try to always be positive – that’s the main thing. And to make sure your glass is always half full and not half empty.
What is something you cannot live without? Friends. It’s very important to have friends in your life.
What is your proudest accomplishment? Raising my family.
If you could travel to the past or future, which would you choose and why? The past. I had a wonderful, wonderful life with my husband.