Snapshot: Sharon Hoyt
Occupation: I’m retired. Many years ago, I was the aquatic director at the Danbury Y. Then I was the office manager for several physicians in the greater-Danbury/Ridgefield area. I also worked part-time at my family’s business. My father owned a funeral home in Danbury, so I worked there with my sister and dad. My husband was 15 years older than me and retired at 70, and he told me “You don’t have to work anymore,” so I retired at 55.
Family: I have four children. My oldest son, Ray Ward, teaches college in Norwich. My next son, Ted Ward, works for the town of Ridgefield. My daughter, Betsy Morrissey, lives in Newtown and is a stay-at-home mom. My youngest daughter, Kathleen Washburn, lives in Watertown and is a teacher. Her husband teaches at the middle school here in Newtown. On July 5, 2015, I lost my husband and best friend, Nathan “Nate” Hoyt. We were fortunate to have 30 wonderful years together. I miss him every day.
How long have you lived in Newtown? It will be four years in April. I had been looking forever for a condominium all on one floor with an attached garage in Danbury, but I found one here in Newtown.
What do you like to do in your free time? I like sewing and knitting. I enjoy spending time with my family, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I’ve been a lap swimmer for over 50 years and swim at the Newtown Community Center. Also, I’m president of my homeowner’s association — that’s a full-time job.
What organizations are you part of in town? Three years ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, but I knew sometime before that — I would fall, loose my balance, and had bad tremors in my hands and voice. I went to a doctor at Yale and she said I have Parkinson’s, wrote me a prescription, and told me she’d see me in six months. That is the way most people who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s find out. I came home, looked up things online, and talked with my local doctor. Over the course of finding out more information, I took a course at Yale sponsored by the American Parkinson’s Disease Association. At the end of the course, one of the representatives asked if I would start a support group, and I said yes, because I knew there was a need.
Now I lead the Western Connecticut Parkinson Disease Support Group at the Newtown Senior Center on the first Wednesday of the month from 1 to 2:30 pm. We help each other. My hope is I can encourage more people with neuromuscular problems to come in and learn more.
Do you have a favorite author? I love books by Elizabeth George and Louise Penny. They have nice mysteries.
What is your favorite travel destination? Ireland. My family originated from there.
What is the best part about Newtown? Hands down, the Community Center and the Senior Center. I hope people realize what a gift that is to the community.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My husband. He was my best friend. His passing has left a hole that nothing can fill.
If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? I’d like to sit down with Abraham Lincoln and ask him what he thinks of the nonsense that is occurring in Washington, DC. One of his remarks was “A nation divided cannot stand.”
Who is your favorite musical artist? I like Irish music and music from the ‘50s. When I was very young, Buddy Holly was my idol.
What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? A very wise doctor told me one time, “Don’t worry what people think when you realize how seldom they do.”
What is something you cannot live without? My family.
What is your proudest accomplishment? My children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.