In the November issue of Ridgefield Magazine, online and at a ceremony on November 23, we celebrate 25 of the most creative, dynamic, generous, and entrepreneurial individuals who make Ridgefield such a wonderful place to call home.
Ridgefield Magazine is hosting the 2019 Ridgefield 25 reception and ceremony on Saturday, November 23, 2019 at BMW of Ridgefield. The evening begins at 6 pm with wine, beer, soft drinks, and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a ceremony recognizing the 2019 Ridgefield 25 honorees. More info and tickets
To nominate someone for 2020, click here.
Ira Joe Fisher is a two-time Emmy Award winner and is a broadcaster, educator, and poet, not to mention hilarious. His humor makes him a phenomenal emcee at fundraisers. Currently, he presents Speaking Fearlessly seminars around the region and teaches at UConn and Mercy College. He resides in Ridgefield with wife Shelley.
Mitch Ancona owns Ancona’s Wines & Liquors, with locations in Ridgefield, Branchville, and Wilton. He prides himself on being focused on family and history—his family having been involved in town for generations. Mitch and the Anconas give back to many non-profits in the area. At the grand opening of his newest store, for example, Ancona’s donated ten percent of the day’s proceeds to the RVNA. An avid cyclist, he completed a 200-mile bike race in Kansas this summer to raise money for Norwalk River Valley Trail, and is also a sponsor of Ridgefield Bicycle Sport Club.
Philip & Christine Lodewick have been a driving force behind Ridgefield’s A Better Chance, which since the 1980s has hosted minority students to attend RHS—and 100 percent have gone on to to college. Christine is past president of the League of Women Voters and Phil past chair of the UConn Foundation and has served the Ridgefield Library, Symphony, and Playhouse.
Dean Miller was a CPA and worked at GE Capital for 20 years and is now board chair of Meals on Wheels, which serves 25,000 meals a year for those who are unable to prepare their own due to age, illness, injury, or other disabilities. He is on the board and treasurer of Thrown Stone Theatre Company and the New England Auto Museum, on the board at RVNA, and former board member of the Ridgefield Library, where he served six years.
Cybele Maylone is executive director of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. She previously led UrbanGlass, where she was named to the Brooklyn 100 by Brooklyn Magazine. Cybele has an MA in arts administration from Columbia University and lives in town with her husband and children. As the leader of a nationally acclaimed art museum, she strives to stay connected both to the contemporary art world and to the Ridgefield community—ensuring the museum continues to be innovative, surprising, and accessible to all.
Will Haskell is our State Senator, who won election to the 26th district in 2018 over longtime incumbent Toni Boucher. His campaign received endorsements from Rep. Jim Himes, Sen. Chris Murphy, and former President Barack Obama. He attended Georgetown University and brings great passion and commitment into his efforts in Hartford.
Jerry Rabin was for 63 years the owner of Ridgefield Hardware, a true anchor of downtown Ridgefield, before selling and stepping down in July. Jerry’s father began the company in 1938, and ever since its inception, the focus has been on the customer. Customer service is the driving force of Ridgefield Hardware. He often emphasizes the personalized help customers will receive, encouraging them to shop locally.
Pamme Jones has been executive director of the Ridgefield Theater Barn since 2017, having previously been a longtime board member. The Theater Barn began as a small theater group in 1965, and has grown tremendously since then. Pamme has helped turn a sleepy theatre into a blossoming place for entertainment. She is also engaging on a major capital campaign to greatly expand the space around the theater, including the addition of classrooms for great programming opportunities.
Gary Singer is former board president of the Ridgefield Historical Society. He and his wife Susie are promoters of art and culture in Ridgefield, including support for the CT Trust for Historic Preservation, Ridgefield Symphony, Meals on Wheels, Exchange Club Community Service, CHIRP, ACT, RIFF, and the Aldrich Museum. He support for Arts for Everyone community outreach programs via the Playhouse, Keeler Tavern, and ACT.
Sue Manning is former First Selectman and senior vice president for Fairfield County Bank. Sue is currently a member of the Ridgefield Rotary Club, community leaders who give their talent, time, and money to doing charitable work for local and international social causes. She and the Rotary Club have supported causes like the UConn Foundation, End Polio Now, and the Holocaust Child Survivors of Connecticut.
Mike McNamara is the orchestra teacher at Ridgefield High School. Known as “Mr. Mac” by his students, Mike has had a longstanding passion for music—which he imbues into his students. He has directed Ridgefield High’s Symphonic Orchestra, Concert Band, and Percussion and Jazz Band ensembles. Mike has helped grow the orchestra and band program significantly—earning state-level awards along the way.
Jonathan Winn & Jason Peck co-founded the Thrown Stone theatre group and are setting the standard for innovative and interactive plays. While running the organization, both founders have full-time jobs and families to attend to, but their concentration and drive in the theatre is unmatched. Their mission is to provide the town of Ridgefield with works that not only connect the community, but challenge their way of thinking. They display not only determination but a true love of the arts. Furthermore, both Peck and Winn are co-artistic directors for the Theatre, and Peck also serves as Director of Theatre Arts at St. Luke’s School in New Canaan.
Ed Karvosky and his wife Susan purchased Bissell Pharmacy 20 years ago and have embedded themselves into the lives of its customers ever since. Karvosky provides narcan to police officers in response to the national heroin epidemic. He also holds seminars for adults and teens, educating them on the dangers of heroin and how to combat an overdose. Furthermore, Ed often hand delivers prescriptions to elderly customers.
Iain Golding has been coach of the Ridgefield High School girls soccer team, which starting with the 2015 season has delivered three FCIAC championships and two state championships, plus two state finalist appearances. The 2017 state championship was the first in program history.
Roz Chast is a hugely popular cartoonist for The New Yorker. Comics Alliance honored her with a lifetime achievement recognition. In 2017, Rhode Island School of Design honored her with its Artistic Achievement Award. She is also a widely published author, having written an illustrated memoir titled Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? and The Alphabet From A to Y With Bonus Letter Z!, co-written with the comedian Steve Martin. Roz has lived in Ridgefield since 1990 with author husband Bill Franzen.
Kathy Graham serves as vice president of Fairfield County Bank and recently won the 2018-2019 Volunteer of the Year as well as the 2017 Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce Volunteer Award due to her involvement with various charities and activities throughout the area, including The Women’s Center of Greater Danbury. She is the co-chairman of Holiday Stroll and Safe Walk, for which she has helped raise over $400,000.
Darla Shaw is a recent two-time cancer survivor who works on numerous speaking and writing projects for Ann’s Place, Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC, and the American Cancer Society. Dr. Shaw has been teaching full time for 63 years. While with the Ridgefield School System she won Connecticut Reading Teacher of the Year as well as the New England Reading Teacher of the Year, and was a three time Celebration of Excellence in Teaching Winner.
Sarah Bouissou is co-owner of Bernard’s and Sarah’s Wine Bar and has served the town for more than 20 years, from catering small parties to large galas—providing to nonprofit events her team’s catering services, and offering catered dinners as auction items. Sarah won the 2014 Business of the Year from the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce and 2014 Best Overall Restaurant from Connecticut Magazine.
Christine O’Leary works as the greeter, show announcer, comedy advisor, and comedy class teacher at The Ridgefield Playhouse. O’Leary is a supporter of children and LGBTQ rights and serves as an auctioneer at various events. She was also nominated by Curve Magazine as one of the 50 funniest lesbians in America.
Brian Armstrong is president of the Ridgefield Fathers Club. The club brings local dads together a few times a month to share stories, support each other, and create friendships. The group also raises money for local charities such as the Boys & Girls Club and ROAR. On top of this, Brian is also the co-founder of Ridgefield Marketplace, which incorporates 45 different merchants all selling products on the same e-commerce site.
Suzanne Brennan took over as executive director of Lounsbury House last year, making it the center of the community. She has brought fresh modern programming and opened its doors in a welcoming way that has never before been possible. Suzanne’s passion and positive attitude radiates through in all she does! In addition, she is a member of Compassionate Ridgefield.
Kim Pereira has been leading the SPHERE music program for more than a decade, giving hundreds of hours of enjoyment to the members, some 30-plus adults with special needs. A mother of three hockey-playing boys and a native of Ridgefield, Kim is also a private music instructor.
Dan O’Brien is chair of the Historic District Commission where he has served for the last ten years. He is board president of the Ridgefield Orchestra Foundation, a board member of RVNA and the Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Playhouse Advisory Board. He is an advisor to the private equity firm J. H. Whitney & Co. Dan has lived in Ridgefield with his wife Annette for the last 25 years. He remains an active distance runner.
Mike Flynn transformed the Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield into what it has become today. As executive director, he has tripled youth participation in after-school and summer-camp programs. The club has won national awards from Boys & Girls Club of America for the past five years—competing against 3,000 other clubs. Mike fosters confidence and belonging in each child who takes part in club activities. He is a fantastic leader whose positive energy radiates throughout Ridgefield. Mike’s devotion to the kids and the club has a lasting impact on the community.
Jean Cobelli has been Director of Enchanted Garden School of Dance for over 25 years. She is the creative mind behind “Nuts About the Nutcracker,” the setting of which is in Ridgefield. All of the proceeds from its two performances in December go to a local charity, some of which have been The Molly Ann Tango Memorial Foundation, SPHERE, and the Ridgefield Special Olympics. Jean has raised thousands of dollars for these charities from the show. Not only do the performances Jean creates give back to the community, but they also teach her dancers to give back to the community. Her dancers are able to learn and grow their craft while expanding their compassion for the community they are a part of.