Veteran Parkite Remembers a Different Town
December 14, 2007
Jackie Harwood has lived in the Park City area for over 30 years. She seen dramatic changes but still enjoys the view. Jackie Harwood arrived here in 1973 and remembers a quaint ski town far different from the Park City of today. She’s seen dramatic changes through her three-and-a-half decades here and still enjoys the view from her comfortable perch high in Jeremy Ranch.
She was born in Evanston, Illinois, the second oldest of Barbara and Lester Gray’s five children. She has two sisters and two brothers. She grew up in Glenview, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.
Harwood grew up in a home filled with music. "Everyone in my family sang and played an instrument," she recalls. "I took piano lesson and played the drums. We would do little concerts for all the relatives at Christmas complete with piano, trombone drums, flute and trumpet."
She went on to play drums and tympani through her school years. A diminutive figure, she was so small that she had to throw her whole body onto the tympani to get it to stop vibrating.
She was a very busy child, juggling school and band with the Brownies, Girl Scouts, dance classes and church youth group. She remembers golden summers at her grandparents’ cottage at Lake Marie, where she went boating and water skiing every day.
Harwood graduated from Glenbrook North High School in 1964 and ventured west for the first time to attend Mesa Junior College in Grand Junction, Colorado. "I chose Mesa after I got out a map and found the college closest to Aspen, where I learned to ski," she says. She studied art and journalism and kept playing drums in orchestra and band during college.
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She retuned home after college, where she met and married John Craigle in 1968. They have two grown sons, Zachary and Joshua. "I remember when Zach was a baby I’d take him with me in my little, bug-eyed Austin-Healy Sprite and deliver newspapers for extra money," she chuckles.
The family moved to the Park City area in June of 1973. "We came out to visit my older sister, who was building a house in a remote area called Summit Park," Harwood recounts. "We fell in love with a nearby little "A" frame for sale for $22,000. We gave the seller $200 to hold it and I flew back a month later to close the deal."
"Back then I-80 up Parley’s Canyon was just a two-lane highway and there was nothing between Summit Park and the Miner’s Hospital on Park Avenue except two gas stations and the little Park West ski area," says Harwood. "There was a baseball field where The Yarrow is now and the only grocery store was Day’s Market at the top of Main Street. You could get a beer at The Handlebar Mustache Bar on Main or the Rusty Nail at the resort. You could get a great meal at Jimmy Gu’s where the Silver Queen Hotel is now. Park Meadows and the Prospector area were huge, open fields. Things have certainly changed in 34 years," she observes.
"We thought maybe we’d made a mistake when it snowed six inches on our deck that first September in ’73," says Harwood. "My first job in Park City was as a secretary for Adolph Imboden, who at the time was the food and beverage director at the resort. He later opened up a little restaurant called "Adolph’s."
"Harwood took a job as banquet manager at The Yarrow in 1979. In 1985 she was hired for the newly-created Director of Sales position at the fledgling Park City Chamber Bureau. "Our office was on Main Street above the jail in what is now the liquor store," she says. "I absolutely loved showing off Park City to meeting planners and travel agents from around the country."
She later worked as Director of Sales for the Raddison Hotel in Park City and the Homestead in Midway. After a brief foray into the real estate market in the late 1990s, Harwood took a job as an international sales agent with Delta Airlines, where she remains today.
Harwood, an accomplished singer, says she fell in love with musical theatre in 1979 when she and her son Zach, were cast in Oliver, the Christmas show staged by the newly-formed Park City Players. She went on to perform in several other PCP shows at the Prospector Square conference center, the old Carl Winters Middle School [now the Park City Library] and, later, the Egyptian Theatre. "My favorite role was Agnes Gooch in Mame," she recalls. She appeared in over a dozen shows, including Camelot, Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady, Music Man, Company and Little Shop of Horrors.
Her marriage to John Craigle ended in the mid-1980s. She met Jerry Harwood while skiing at Park West in 1987. They were married quietly on New Year’s Eve, 1988, at The Yarrow by Park City’s beloved Mayor Hal Taylor.
Harwood acquired a tasted for sailing as a young girl on the shores of Lake Michigan. In the mid-1980s she and a girlfriend bought a 17-foot sailboat and plied the waves at Deer Creek and Jordanelle reservoirs. When husband Jerry joined the crew, the newlyweds bought a bigger boat and began sailing on the Great Salt Lake.
"I’m passionate about sailing because of its challenges and the peace, beauty and serenity it brings to me," says Harwood. Last year they bought a 30-foot Catalina sailboat, which they keep at a slip there. They’ve become accomplished sailors and spend as much time as possible on the lake. They also sail in the Carribean as often as they can.
Harwood also enjoys alpine and cross-county skiing, hiking and bicycling on local trails. A grandmother and step-grandmother of six, she looks forward to their frequent visits to her spacious Jeremy Ranch home. "I’m getting older but I’m trying to stay active," she confesses. "I love being a grandma, especially at Christmas time."
She still sings in her church choir. She recalls with great fondness many Christmas eves in the 1980s when she and friends would tune up at local watering holes before joining Father Carly and the choir for Midnight Mass at old St. Mary’s Church. It’s a fitting memory as she nears her 35th Christmas in Park City.
Married, four sons and step-sons, six grandchildren.
Favorite things to do: ski, sail, hike and bike.
Favorite foods: "A good steak."
Favorite authors: Grisham, Sanford, Patterson, Baldacci.
Favorite performers: Utah Symphony and her son Zach’s band.
Pet Park City peeve: "The growth is hard to watch."
Pets: "Sambuca, a sweet, smart, loyal 10-year-old Airdale Terrier."