Snapshot: Tina Benhardt

Occupation: I was a special education teacher for 43 years, and retired just this past spring. I worked in Nashua, N.H., for the past 12 years, working with students on the spectrum.

Family: I’ve been married to Terry for 44 years. We got married at the Meeting House in Newtown, which was the Congregational Church then, and had the reception at the Sedor family farm on Currituck Road. We have a son, Andrew, and his wife, Hillary. They are teachers in Bend, Ore. We have a 5-year-old granddaughter, Alta, who just started kindergarten.

Pets: We had Charlotte, our little Jack Russell terrier, for 18 years. We lost her two years ago. We’re looking for another pet; the farm has always had an animal.

How long have you lived here? My family, the Sedors, has been in Newtown for 100 years. My sister and I were raised here. I graduated from Newtown High School in 1966, and then went off to college. After I got married, we lived in Boston and most recently, Merrimack, N.H. We just moved back to the family homestead two weeks ago. We’re still sorting out the two big storage units filled with our stuff. My dad, Andrew, passed away 12 years ago, but my sister and I decided to keep the property. Once it’s gone from the family, it’s gone forever. Our friends George and Donna Burch kept the farm going while we were weekend warriors. It’s nice to be back.

What do you like to do in your free time? I like to walk and I’m a skier and showshoer in the winter. We like to travel. I enjoy reading. Maybe I’ll be “crafty” after a while, too!

Do you have a favorite book? The last one I read was Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It’s about Lincoln’s cabinet and how he selected the people who helped him lead.

Do you have a favorite travel destination? We’ve been going out to the Northwest a lot. There’s a beautiful little beach out there we go to, by Tillamook, Ore. We’re exploring the high desert around Bend now when we go out there. We’ve gone to England, and really loved that, too.

What is the best thing about Newtown? It’s the community and the people. They all have a feeling of caring for each other. People are friendly. Even as a child, the families we were friends with, all of the parents were all our parents. We were always welcome into each others’ homes. It was a good community to grow up in, and made me what I am.

Who has been the greatest influence in your life? It would have to be my parents. They loved what they did. They had the farm and they worked together. My mother did the books and my father worked the farm. They taught me the Golden Rule, and a good work ethic. My father would say, “I make a list in the morning, and see how much I can get done.” They enjoyed the farm. I try to enjoy every day, too.

Do you have a personal philosophy? The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But also, to look at people’s strengths and appreciate them, and be willing to negotiate. I think negotiating is very important.

Do you have a guilty pleasure? I do like to sit in the sun and read my historical novels.

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