Jack DeGange built a successful 50-year career as a writer and editor before moving to The Woodlands in 2016.
A graduate of Bates College and an officer in the U.S. Navy, Jack started his professional career with newspapers in Stamford and New Haven, Conn. In 1968, he became the sports information director at Dartmouth College where, over nine years, many of his publications won national awards. He then worked in printing sales and marketing before spending a decade in the corporate communications field. A return to Dartmouth in the 1990s to work in fund-raising communications preceded nearly two decades as a freelance writer and editor.
For several years Jack was board president and campaign chair for United Way of the Upper Valley and also volunteered at David’s House in Lebanon where his wife, Jane, was executive director for about 20 years.
Jack became familiar with The Woodlands in 2010 while doing a freelance article for Trumbull-Nelson Construction, the company that built The Woodlands (and several other buildings on the Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital campus). His research included interviews over dinner he and Jane shared with three couples who were longtime friends and among the earliest residents at The Woodlands.
“After dinner, Jane and I agreed that one day The Woodlands would be a good option for us,” Jack said.
For 25 years, before moving to The Woodlands, their home was a large farmhouse on four acres about three miles from The Woodlands. When they decided the time was right to leave lawn mowing, snow blowing and splitting firewood behind, they didn’t look beyond The Woodlands.
“When making a decision about downsizing, I encourage people to plan early, while it’s still a choice, not a necessity,” Jack said. “The Woodlands was the right size for us. It’s easy to get to know everybody. We’ve acquired many new friends, there’s a great social atmosphere, the people are interesting, and conversations can go in any direction.”
He now applies his experience as a contributor to the residents’ monthly newsletter and, as president of The Woodlands Board of Directors, encouraging residents to get involved in community life.
Unlike many other independent living retirement communities, the residents, with the support of The Woodlands staff, organize clubs, outings, and other activities for everyone to participate in and enjoy.
“This is our home and residents find it easy to get involved. In a sense, interests and initiatives energize the community,” Jack said.