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Tom & Judy Gire

Where are you from? Where have you lived before moving to Oak Hammock?

Judy: I grew up in Ohio and I went to college there. We lived in Silver Spring and Bethesda, Maryland, then moved to Boca Raton in Florida before moving to Oak Hammock.

Tom: I also grew up in Ohio, in Columbus. I went to Ohio State and that’s where Judy and I met. I have two degrees there: a bachelor’s and a law degree. We moved to Oak Hammock in 2016, almost four years ago.

What was your career?

Tom: I worked for the federal government in Washington. I was a staff attorney at a regulatory agency called the Interstate Commerce Commission. My office was right across the street from the Smithsonian. I wrote legal decisions for the commission and served on the personal staffs of two commissioners.

Judy: I was an educator and quasi-administrator in the Montgomery County, Maryland, public school system. I taught mathematics and special education at the middle school level.

What is your biggest accomplishment (professionally or personally)?

Tom: Judy and I have led nature trips in South Florida, the Bahamas and Peru for the Audubon Naturalist Society, a Maryland Group. We have also given programs for Elderhostel, which is now called Road Scholar, on the birds of the Everglades. We also worked with the Audubon Naturalist Society to help a Peruvian conservation organization establish a library.

Judy: As far as a personal accomplishment is concerned, we provided guidance and financial support to our two Peruvian goddaughters in Cuzco and they have now graduated from college and live successful lives. I also served as a volunteer for 25 years at a nature center in South Florida where, among other things, I worked on projects with sea turtles.

What is your goal for retirement?

Judy: I want to continue to be healthy, stay physically active and continue to learn new things. We both swim at least 3-4 times a week in the indoor lap pool. We also visit the fitness center twice a week and occasionally walk the trails.

Tom: I would agree. I also want to stay healthy and continue enjoying nature and helping others to do so.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Tom: I’ve gotten very interested in photographing wildflowers.

Judy: I love to sing, and I’m involved in the Oak Hammock Singers group.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Judy: I like to travel, read, go birding and participate in other nature-focused activities. Sweetwater Wetlands is one of the best places to go birding around Gainesville.

Tom: I do all of that too, and we attend concerts and educational programs as well.

What made you want to join the Oak Hammock community?

Judy: We were drawn to Oak Hammock by its natural setting and its affiliation with the university as well as access to good healthcare and cultural events. Once we were here, we realized there are many programs and activities present in Gainesville and the wonderful people here in the Oak Hammock community. We’ve never looked back.

Tom: I would emphasize how important the resident community is here. They are well-educated, with varied interests, and very welcoming. This really makes it a pleasant place to live. It is also important to be close to the major healthcare systems in town.

What is one thing you would want the residents and prospective residents of Oak Hammock to know?

Tom: I would say make the move sooner rather than later. Do it while you’re still physically capable enough to socialize, make friends, and participate in the activities here.

Judy: As Tom said, Oak Hammock is a very welcoming place. We came here cold, cold meaning we are not UF alumni, we were not affiliated with the university, and we had no family or friends in the area. Nonetheless, we fit right in and felt at home from day one.