We were very excited to sit down with Jim Duncan of Woodbury to discuss his active lifestyle, interests and his dedication to fitness. As we had anticipated, speaking with Jim and his talented wife Joan was enormously interesting, enlightening and inspiring.
Tell us about your earlier career.
Athletics have always been a big part of my life. In my early career I was a teacher and football coach at the high school and college levels. After coaching, I began my career in the apparel manufacturing business with my father. Ultimately, I moved from my “roots” in the Midwest to New York City, and enjoyed a career as a sales executive in the fashion industry during the heyday of American manufacturing and retail. I managed large retail accounts such as JC Penney and Sears.
Most importantly, I had the good fortune to meet my wife Joan in New York City, where she had been a successful fashion executive. After working together at three different companies, in time, my wife and I launched our own women’s apparel line, “Joni James”, which we owned for several years. Together, we have had a wonderful time traveling the world on our business trips.
What brought you to Woodbury, CT?
I followed my wife Joan to Woodbury about 20 years ago after she accepted a position in Connecticut with a large apparel manufacturer. We looked at many towns in Connecticut and fell in love with our home in Woodbury – and have never looked back! It is a wonderful place to live.
Tell us about your current lifestyle, interests and passions.
My current lifestyle revolves around athletics and fitness. I am a Certified Personal Trainer, specializing in Pilates instruction, sports training and diet instruction. I teach several classes per week at the Woodbury Senior Center, including Pilates and Balance, which are particularly effective fitness programs for seniors. I also teach fitness programs in Southbury and Middlebury, as well as personal training for individuals.
It sounds like you haven’t slowed down at all.
I have quite a few balls in the air! I had been a competitive track and field athlete from 50 years old to 74 and have competed in track and field and decathlon events around the world. Now, at 84 years old, although I no longer compete, I am quite active in athletics.
Aside from my fitness classes and personal training, I recently began coaching the girl’s track team at Nonnewaug High School. I do that twice a week and I find it quite enjoyable.
Three years ago, I revived my interest golf and play regularly. In the spiritual realm, I teach Bible Studies at St. Teresa here in Woodbury. And in my “spare time”, I enjoy reading. My wife Joan is also very active. She teaches at Parsons School of Design and LIM College in New York City and consults in the fashion industry.
What advice do you have for other area seniors to “age well” in Connecticut?
I am cautious about giving advice. But I do hope that I can lead by example and can be a role model to other seniors. It’s important to stay busy doing things one enjoys, to keep moving and stay active – both mentally and physically. The Balance class is a great place to start for someone new to fitness. I would say that it’s never too late to start something new.
“It’s important to stay busy doing things one enjoys, to keep moving and stay active – both mentally and physically. It’s never too late to start something new.”
You have so many interesting stories, but tell us just one more for the road!
A few years back, I was featured in a series of advertisements for my orthopedic surgeon’s practice after my successful knee replacement surgery. I appeared on billboards, in magazines and even on the radio. The slogan was “We Keep You #1”, referencing my first place decathlon wins. That was quite an interesting experience.
Want to get active yourself? Check out classes at our local Senior Centers >>
Editor’s note: We will be featuring Joan Duncan in a future installment of our Spotlight profiles. Stay tuned!