The 50 Most Influential People in Litchfield County 2014
We have among us a great diversity of talented and dedicated people. They contribute their time, skills, and resources to improve this corner of paradise. For the fifth year, with the help of a panel of advisors, we present Litchfield County’s Most Influential People.
Woytuk has been called “the greatest animal sculptor of the Western world.” He apprenticed with Philip Grausman and has lived here for years. His association with the Morrison Gallery in Kent led to the outdoor installation of his work in New York City.
His was the vision that saved an historic building and created Infinity Hall in Norfolk, which was voted Best Music Hall in New England by Yankee Magazine. The addition of Infinity Bistro makes it a one-stop adventure for dining and entertainment. Hincks recently received approval to build a version of Infinity Hall in Hartford.
Daniel J. Mcintyre
As president and executive director of Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, McIntyre has worked tirelessly to maintain the hospital’s reputation as the premiere healthcare provider in northwest Connecticut by maintaining quality and cost-effective services to meet the needs of the community.
A resident of Kent, she is professor of neuroscience and directs the Infancy Studies Laboratory at the Center for Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience at Rutgers University. Her groundbreaking research has demonstrated for the first time that the ability to perform fine non-speech acoustic discriminations in early infancy is critically important to later language development in normally developing children as well as children at risk for language disorders.
Recently named president and chief operating officer of Torrington Savings Bank, Janco has worked there for 40 years. He has generously championed local organizations such as the Nutmeg Conservatory of Dance and serves on the board of the Torrington Historical Society.
With his 20 years of administrative and fundraising experience, Burns has brought the glory back to the Mattatuck Museum. As its new director, he has reinstalled the collections galleries, tripled the number of new exhibitions, and increased attendance.
Artist, gardener, and philanthropist, Middlebrook has been involved with the Washington Art Association for 50 years. Each year a scholarship is awarded to two graduating seniors from Shepaug Valley High School in honor of her late husband, Robert. She has been honored by the Devereux Glenholme School, where she began teaching horticulture in the 1970s and is now a board member.
Reverend Mother Dolores Hart
For many, Dolores Hart will always be Elvis’s movie sweetheart, but those who cherish the Abbey of Regina Laudis know her as its savior. As the prioress, she has worked diligently to preserve and restore the abbey and to share its treasures with the world.
A founding member of Pilobolus Dance Theater and creator of his own company, MOMIX, Pendleton has been at the forefront of innovative dance for over 40 years. Since its debut in 1981, the company has established an international reputation for highly inventive choreography.
This world-class snowboarder did us all proud at the Olympics and is as passionate about saving animals as she is about her sport. She contributes to various animal shelters and rescued two homeless dogs in Russia. Her project, “Hats for Hounds,” for which she knitted over 100 wool hats, raised over $5,000 to assist in caring for homeless animals.
Samantha “Sam” Tilley
Thanks to her early career in apparel design, Tilley traveled the world and learned about international food firsthand. As chef at Mockingbird restaurant, she has introduced everything from the exotic to the sublime. Soon she will bring her restaurant to the former Bantam Inn and entice even more lovers of exceptional food.
Wife of director Milos Forman, she is the author of an autobiography and two novels and has just completed her first screenplay. She is a volunteer at the Susan B. Anthony Project in Torrington, where she works to help victims of domestic violence, sometimes advocating their rights in court. With her husband, she has hosted annual fundraising parties for the project.
The ultimate food aficionado who was trained as a chef knows exactly what cooks need to prepare food properly. His shop, New Preston Kitchen Goods, has been a mainstay of the unique shopping Mecca in New Preston. A special treat: fresh eggs from Rook’s own chickens, the proceeds of which are donated to the ASPCA.
An artist herself, McElhone understands the importance of supporting creativity. As director of Five Points Gallery in Torrington, she has raised the profile of both local artists and the city. In addition to impressive exhibitions, she has created a lecture program to bring people from the art world to speak at the gallery.
Dr. George Schaller
One of the world’s preeminent field biologists, Schaller has received numerous international conservation awards, including the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement and the Gold Medal of the World Wildlife Fund. He has traveled the world to isolated places to understand and conserve threatened species and has worked with local communities and national governments to protect and preserve the ecological assets of threatened areas.
For over 25 years, Hammer has been the go-to realtor in Litchfield County, culminating in his being chosen as Realtor of the Year in 2013. With his life partner, Gary Goodwin, he has created Tea for Two Hundred, a major summer event that raises money for a number of charitable organizations, which is held at their Washington home.
Recently named executive director of the Warner Theatre in Torrington, she has been part of the organization for 14 years as development manager, grant writer, and overseer of publications. She is also a member of the Torrington Arts and Culture Commission and the membership board of the Chamber of Commerce.
She was the recipient of 2011 Friend of the Green Award in recognition of her contributions to The Gunnery and the Steep Rock Association. Peckerman serves on the Board of Trustees for both organizations as well as the Gunn Memorial Library and Museum, the Washington Garden Club, and the Weantinogue Heritage Land Trust.
Peter & Amy Julia Becker
He is the headmaster of The Gunnery with impressive academic credentials and a clear vision of how to sustain the school’s success and build on its strengths, while focusing on the importance of educating its students. She is the author of several books, including A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny, named one of the top books of 2011 by Publishers Weekly. She blogs about faith, family, and disability.
One of the original players on “Saturday Night Live,” Curtin has been called one of the great comic actresses of our time. We all remember her perfect timing in “Kate and Allie” and “Third Rock from the Sun.” She continues to participate in regional and local theater productions.
This potter extraordinaire has supplied everyone from Oprah to Martha Stewart with his creative pieces. A Litchfield native, his studio is always open, welcoming customers and mentoring those who want to learn the craft.
Anne Day & Spencer Reiss
Reiss, a former Newsweek correspondent and contributing editor at Wired is our resident expert on energy issues, new media, commercial space travel, and the impact of technology on humans. Day, a freelance photographer, has covered everything from Presidential inaugurations to the release of Nelson Mandela. She has taught sixth- to eighth-graders at Girls Inc. and at local public schools.
Drawing on her talents as a professional vocalist, choral director, and Broadway performer, Evans created SingOut! CT, a vocal ensemble for young girls, devoted to developing youngsters as choral artists and soloists. In addition, she regularly coaches and mentors young performers who are pursuing stage careers.
A respected architect responsible for creating many beautiful spaces, including CT Restaurant, Talbot has served on the Washington Historic District Commission and recently helped form the Washington Park Foundation to turn the former Texaco station into a usable public space.
Matthew & Ben Freund
Together they carry on the tradition of dairy farming begun by their father in 1949. Freund’s Farm has been on the cutting edge of new technologies, especially in areas related to efficient nutrient management. Their invention of CowPots has revolutionized organic farming and gardening. This product helps farmers reduce the nutrient load on their farms, and produces better plants with no plastic to discard.
His parents built the Norfolk Curling Club. When it was destroyed by fire, Childs helped raise money to rebuild it. Childs is acting president of the Great Mountain Forest in Norfolk, which consists of family-owned land that has been put into federal stewardship.
Emily Dalton & Matthew Karpas
Together they have worked tirelessly to promote and fundraise for the Oliver Wolcott Library. Dalton, co-founder of Jack Black Men’s Grooming Products, has also championed and expanded the profile of the Susan B. Anthony Project, which works with battered women.
She is founder of Social Comments, a team of creative professionals dedicated to building brands and helping them find their niche in the marketplace. Maddalena has developed effective and creative strategies through striking graphic design and targeted marketing initiative and has worked closely with many local organizations such as After School Arts Program, Greenwoods Counseling Referrals, the Washington Connecticut Antique Show, and Gunn Memorial Library.
Roberta Smith & Jerry Saltz
She is an art critic for the New York Times and a lecturer on contemporary art.He is senior art critic and columnist for New York Magazine and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism three times. Together they are the power couple who keep us abreast of what’s going on in the ever-changing art world.
Dorothy Cann Hamilton
She made French cooking accessible with her now-legendary NYC cooking school and launched a whole generation of young chefs. She was inducted into the Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America by the James Beard Foundation.
Joseph Mazzaferro & Kenneth Sena
Following their passion for all things mid-century, the duo purchased two modernist houses and restored them meticulously. They were recently awarded two citations for their restoration on the first Breuer House in Litchfield, as well as a house designed by John Johansen.
Since founding Crew Design, Inc., in 1998 with his partner, Gil Aviles, Carlin has become an industry leader in sustainable technology. The firm creates point-of-sale advertising displays for large consumer companies using a blend of recycled plastic from disposable plastic bottles. By implementing waste-reduction strategies, he is helping to save the environment.
She is a member of the New Milford Farmland Preservation Committee and has been active in the Housatonic Valley Association as well. It was through her hard work and determination that the now annual Farmer’s Harvest to Table event was established.
Steven Temkin, David Bender & Steven Roth
Founders of Torrington Downtown Partners, the trio had a vision to restore the town’s center and have carried it through successfully. Since its inception in 2010, the group has purchased nine foreclosed buildings and rehabilitated them.
Deborah & Declan Murphy
Together they run Novens, Inc., a distributor of safe and affordable plasma and plasma-protein products. Novens is dedicated to global blood safety and serves as a consultant to major biopharmaceutical corporations and the public health sector in healthcare development worldwide. He sits on the board of the Warner Theatre, and the Connecticut Junior Republic; they share a commitment to the Litchfield Community Center and the Oliver Wolcott Library.
Powell used her sales expertise to create an interior-decorating franchise and established Décor & You, opening the door for women who wanted to run their own businesses but lacked the backroom support. Today there are more than 28 individually owned Décor & You franchises across the country, and it was rated one of the Top 500 Franchises by Entrepreneur Magazine for three consecutive years.
Anne Gallagher & Diane D’Isidori
They are two of the original creators of Plow to Plate, a coalition of physicians, farmers, chefs, restaurateurs, community leaders, and land preservationists who came together to promote and increase consumption of healthy, locally grown food within institutional settings. They also have championed the nationally recognized Youth Chef Advocates Program begun in New Milford.
Robert Andrew Parker
One of the masters of late-20th century illustration, Parker is also a writer, painter, and musician. His work is in many major collections, including MoMA and the Whitney. He has written and illustrated children’s books as well as a book of his own travel adventures.
Anne Sutherland Fuchs
She was the first female publisher of Vogue and a branding innovator with extensive experience in the media industry. Fuchs received the Matrix Award for Magazines by Women of Communications as well as Advertising Woman of the Year. Locally she has championed Greenwoods Counseling Referrals and has created sophisticated fundraising models to further its goals as a not-for-profit.
Barbara & A. Eugene Kohn
He is an award-winning architect and an Executive Fellow of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, the first architect to be awarded the title. She is an investment banker who founded her own company that specializes in working with healthcare companies. She was president of the Gunn Memorial Library board and co-chair of their Library Luminaries fundraiser.
A Torrington native, Temkin is chief curator of painting and sculpture for the Museum of Modern Art. She is widely revered for her vast knowledge of the art world and inaugurated the Lecture Series at Five Points Gallery.
The daughter of a fashion designer, Sherman was surrounded by art and design. Thus, she has explored many aspects of design and has created everything from one-of-a-kind tables to wooden lighting fixtures. It is her understanding of geometric forms versus architectural shapes that makes her work unique.
Edwin Cady, Sr.
Cady founded East Coast Barn Builders in 1960 and was one of the first to preserve English and Dutch-style barns, rebuilding them into custom homes. He and his son, Ed, Jr., use advanced envelope-insulation techniques to provide heating efficiency while creating an appealing antique look. His company has become the largest mover of antique post-and-beam frames in the country.
In 1969, Dante had a dream and formed the Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory in Torrington and has continued her commitment to providing professional-level ballet training to aspiring young dance artists. Today, the conservatory is recognized as one of the leading, professional, ballet-training organizations in the U.S. and is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance.
The consummate fundraiser, she got her start working for the American Red Cross. Locally, she is on the Board and Executive Committee of Connecticut Community Foundation, Litchfield Community Center, Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy, the Litchfield-Morris Rotary, and serves as a burgess in the Borough of Litchfield.
We have seen him in countless memorable roles on television, movies, and onstage. He participates in the After School Arts Program’s Celebration of Young Writers. He has recently been ordained as the Clergy-in-Charge at St. John’s Episcopal Church in New Milford.
Before he established himself as a landscape painter, Funt was manager of special events for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and director of interior display for Tiffany & Co. His work is directly inspired by his land and garden in Norfolk. He has served on and been president of the Norfolk Library Board of Trustees and is heavily involved in local conservation programs.
Seamlessly blending the eye of a photographer with the strokes of a painter, Incandela applies developer with painterly brushstrokes, selectively creating images that are part of many museum and private collections. He has contributed greatly to Hollister House’s gardens with his artist’s eye trained on redefining the landscape.
Claudia Demonte & Ed Mcgowin
Her impressive sculptures are influenced by the role of women in society. He is known for his technical skills and innovative style. Together they are represented in museums, galleries, and private collections throughout the world.
He is president of a New York investment firm, but his loyalty to the town of Bridgewater is unsurpassed. He has owned the Village Store for over 25 years and continues to support local activities. Each year visitors are welcome to tour his gardens at Maywood, his 1,000-acre estate.