Meet Your Neighbor: Judy Whitten

Meet Your Neighbor: Judy Whitten

When I met with Judy on a windy afternoon this week, it didn’t take me long to see a few of her most prominent characteristics: she is goal-oriented and efficient. She handed me a sheet she had prepared with all of the pertinent information for our “Meet” interview. She had the answers to all of my questions, before the questions were asked. Still, we talked for over an hour and had a wonderful conversation.  Interview by Bruce McDonald and Judy Whitten.

Bruce: Well then, I see from your interview guide you’ve lived here for 46 years. What brought you to Southern Gables?

Judy: When we first got married, we moved into an apartment building with a job as managers, through a friend we knew from Julesburg. It was a great job, and a great start for us.  We saved up enough to get into a house. Then after we had been there a while, a friend told us about the nice lots available in this area. We bought a “Better Homes and Gardens” house plan for $30, and decided to have it built here. There weren’t many other houses in this part of Southern Gables.

Doug and Judy Whitten

Julesberg? Way up in the northeast corner of Colorado, out on the plains, right? Is that where you grew up?  Yes, I grew up around there, on a farm outside of town. I’m a farm girl, started driving when I was nine. Between 13 and 15 I was spending summers on my uncle’s farm, which was larger, and driving his big Oliver diesel tractor six days a week. Doug was from Julesburg too. High school sweethearts?  Well, we knew each other, and dated off and on. I came to the Denver area right out of high school, and went to business school. We got married after Doug finished college, and then he got a Master’s degree. We’ve been married 56 years.

So that seems to be working. Congratulations. How about family in the area?  Well, our daughter was raised here of course, and now we have two grandchildren and they’re all close by. We enjoy our contact with them, and spend a lot of time with my job as chauffeur. And soccer games! Lots of soccer games, including tournaments out-of-state. Our grandchildren are very close and we enjoy being part of their lives.

You’re retired, I guess, doing all that with the grandkids.  Yes, we’re both retired, 12 years for me. I worked at KPMG, a Certified Public Accounting firm, for 46 years. The last 20 years of that I was the Events Coordinator. I planned everything from birthday parties to big annual conferences. I really enjoyed that part of my job, working with accountants and lawyers. They earned a lot of respect in my eyes; they worked hard and they partied hard.

Other than the grandkids, what are some of your favorite activities? That’s easy. Involvement in Southern Gables events and assisting my husband, Doug, during his eight years as president of Southern Gables Neighborhood Association. Together we have worked to institute gatherings to bring the neighbors together. Some of these events are the Neighborhood Nite Out, Monthly Neighborhood Luncheons at the different restaurants in the Southern Gables Area, Neighborhood Block Parties, Annual Leaf Raking of senior citizens’ lawns, and my  Neighborhood Monthly Bunko Group.

Doug and I have always enjoyed boating and being on the water. Our favorite place is Lake Powell – it’s so sad what’s happening there, with the years of drought – and we go frequently to Lake McConaughy.

Someone recently told me since I was retired I was living “The Life of Riley.” Do you feel that way about the retired life? Well, I guess if it means getting to do what you want, on your own schedule, I suppose so. Our favorite place to vacation is Hawaii and we have made about 15 trips there. Since my retirement we have made four trips to Hawaii spending a month each trip. That was my retirement dream.

It’s easy to see something else you must love, with the beautiful lawn and flowers all around. Yes, I enjoy my yard and flowers!



Meet Your Neighbor: Christine Dove

Meet Your Neighbor: Christine Dove

In our series of interviews for neighbors to get to know and appreciate one another, we meet Christine Dove. We visited at her breakfast table on a sunny spring morning. Interviewed by Bruce McDonald

Bruce:  I’m so glad we could finally get together. I know it’s a busy time of year so I appreciate the opportunity. Let’s start with an easy question – how long have you lived here in Southern Gables?  Christine: We’ve been here since 2010.

And did you grow up here in Colorado?  No, I’m from Southern California. It wasn’t a huge change though, since I grew up in the Lake Arrowhead area. Oh, the Southern California mountains! So you came here already used to snow and having different seasons… Yes, I love having the mountains, the snow and the wonderful healthy atmosphere here. Coming to Colorado was a move with an aim of being in a healthy place to raise our family. Marvin and I met in the hospitality industry in California and when we started thinking about that goal, it fell into place since my mom had a friend who lived in Lakewood.

What are some things you like about the Southern Gables neighborhood?  Well, when our daughter was younger I loved being able to walk her to school. Now the kids still walk, going together in groups, and it’s great that they have that safe and friendly level of freedom. I love that the neighbors are friendly and helpful to each other. People watch out for your house when you’re gone, pick up mail, things like that. It’s great too that we are seeing more young families in the neighborhood. I love hearing the sounds of kids laughing and playing with each other.

Do you have a favorite memory with your Southern Gables neighbors?  Yes, that would be the Community Garden. I was involved with getting it started – working with Denver Urban Gardens, Sustainable Southern Gables, and the Neighborhood Association. It was great having people come together to clearing the space for the garden plots with timbers and mulch, gravel for the pathways, and all that. And then with produce coming in, I helped organize and run the Youth Farmstand with the Green Gables kids. With the plots set aside for the school, they cared for their plants and learned patience and the skills needed to harvest vegetables. We set up tables and the kids were so proud to be able to deal with adult customers and sell what they had grown.

How about a “neighborly” experience?  We have the best neighbors! Whenever it snows, all the snow blowers and shovels come out and it’s like a big work party. Gary, Dan, Stephanie, Roger… everybody works together to do the whole block.

And your work, hobbies – how do you spend your time?  I am a server – you can say waitress – at Homestead and Fox Hollow. I always enjoy seeing neighbors there. For leisure I like reading, hiking, gardening. Family time! That’s what I value the most. We have a place in the mountains and it’s the very best thing to be there with my family, just enjoying nature.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying that you can leave with us?  The first thing that comes to mind is a saying, I don’t know where it comes from, “You can’t feed your family from an empty bowl.” What it means to me is that to provide our family we have to be in good health, strong, and resourceful. I can relate that and my love of nature to a line by John Muir, “The mountains are calling, and I must go.” Being together with my family, in the mountains for example, is good for me and it strengthens us all.

In closing, what have I missed? Is there anything else you want us to know about you?  I guess it’s along the lines of that same thought, but just that I am really looking forward this exciting time of life with my daughter, a world of new experiences as she is maturing. We explore music together – Oingo Boingo to the Swing era, symphonies, Broadway show music. And travel! We are so looking forward to traveling together. I love New York and I want to show it to her, Broadway and all. We talked about travel and she said she wanted to go and see the cherry blossoms. Isn’t that sweet? The cherry blossoms! I thought, “Great, we can swing a trip to DC!” She meant the cherry blossoms in Japan. This project might be more involved than I thought. Still though, it’s going to be great!

Contact to nominate a candidate for the “Meet Your Neighbor” series.