It is often said that there is magic in our mountains. As we interview Saugerties residents, we note that the magic still appears to be functioning, drawing new, interesting, creative and community-minded residents to our town.
John Remington has been a full-time resident of Saugerties since 2014. He and his wife of forty years, Janet, are natives of Minnesota, where they raised their children, Maggie and Jake. In addition to living in Minnesota, they lived in Williamsburg and Fort Greene before “falling in love with the area” and adding their particular enthusiasms to our community.
Originally, daughter Maggie and her husband, Dennis O’Neill, bought a weekend home in Bearsville, and then moved into the vast shadow of Overlook Mountain full-time. John and Janet, visiting the area, were drawn by “the people and attitude” of the many creative and intelligent residents of our area. They bought a piece of property that boasted an acre and a half in Saugerties and half an acre in Woodstock. Though he is a Saugerties resident, John finds the little piece of Woodstock a reminder that he is a child of the Sixties.
John immediately joined the Chamber of Commerce and, with the encouragement of his neighbor, Beth Murphy, became a member of the Democratic Committee. He contributes to the Saugerties community a skill set garnered over a career as an advertising executive, artistic director and performer in an improvisational theater group, and a vice-president for events, marketing and communication for Target.
In semi-retirement, John is Target’s executive director for its “thanks and giving” campaign. Target is a major supporter of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. With John at the helm of the holiday campaign, Target uses donations to build guest homes for the families of children being treated at St. Jude’s Hospital.
John calls Saugerties “a big little town.” Community members know each other, as they tend to do in most small towns. However, “people are concerned with big-town issues such as county, state and national policy.”
A first-term member of the Saugerties Library board, John chairs the library’s outreach committee. He has applied his talents to facilitating the group’s creation of a plan of service to the community. This service is meant to apply to citizens from all walks of life, all ethnicities and all economic strata. The influence of his management style in developing the library’s inclusive plan of service has been felt. “The rules of communication are like the rules of life,” he says. “Don’t negate others’ contributions, say yes so you can keep building concepts. Hook onto what’s in front of you because there are no bad ideas. You can build on the ideas which individuals share.”
John has a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State. At fifty years of age, he returned to school to earn a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota dealing with innovation and creativity in advertising and publishing. He wants to “take what he learned and offer it back to the Saugerties community to help ensure that the community stays vibrant and self-sustaining,” he says. “Anything to help is good.” He is a talented and generous man.
As for the magic mountains, John and Janet are getting to know and love the hiking paths and the wildlife which surround us. He sees each transaction in town polishing “the art of visiting” by providing a chance to meet good friends and share the joys of life.
Ranking high among his own joys is a two-year-old granddaughter who provides him and his wife “the opportunity of growing up together in Chapter 3 of our lives.”