Suffield Garden Club Honors Betty Stroh

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On October 26, 2023, Suffield Garden Club (SGC) members and Friends of the Farm at Hilltop (FOFAH) gathered at the beautifully renovated Hilltop barn for a reception to honor the legacy and generosity of Betty Jean Stroh, past SGC member.

Photo by Joan Heffernan
FOFAH Board President Howie Orr accepts a generous donation from the Betty Jean Stroh Fund, presented by Suffield Garden Club President Marie Gauthier.

In 2022, SGC received a generous donation from Betty’s estate, and past President Connie Murray led a committee of members to manage the funds and explore possible uses. One particularly relevant application of funds is further renovation of Betty Jean’s own house and grounds at Hilltop to create a Visitor’s Center. At the event, current President Marie Gauthier presented FOFAH Board President Howie Orr a check for $100,000 to “pay it forward” to the Suffield community.

The evening was magical with excitement and gratitude.

The seasonally decorated Hilltop barn provided the perfect setting for the reception, attended by FOFAH board members, SCG members, town officials and Observer Board members. Elegant catering was provided by Renee Scharoff from Blonde on the Run Catering LLC, and Lauren Barrett from Whippletree Winery.

The SGC is especially thankful to the following volunteers who helped manage the donation and organize the reception:

  • BJS Fund Committee – Cheryl Armata, Kathy Berube, Judy Hanmer, Marie Gauthier, Connie Murray, Joyce Zien
  • BJS Spending Committee – Christine Ahrens, Kathy Berube, Marie Gauthier, Connie Murray, Anita Wardell
  • BJS Celebration – Christine Ahrens, Kathy Berube, Anita Wardell, Jean Matejek, Lisa Parker
  • Flower Arrangements – Ingrid Linke, Jean Matejek

The Friends of the Farm at Hilltop was formed in 2002 to save George Hendee’s 20,000-square-foot dairy barn from sale and possible demolition. The Friends is an all-volunteer non-profit organization governed by a board of directors and supported by an army of volunteers. Since 2004, FOFAH has managed more than $950,000 in grants and donations. In 2005, The Friends succeeded in getting the mammoth 18,700 square foot Colonial Revival barn and additional structures on 250 acres of the farm listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Suffield Garden Club, organized in 1934, is an all-volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to the beautification of Suffield. To become a member or to learn more, visit

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