Founder of Griffith Izaak Walton League marks 64 years with organization

2013-07-11T18:30:00Z 2013-07-11T23:25:07Z Founder of Griffith Izaak Walton League marks 64 years with organizationLauri Harvey Keagle, (219) 852-4311

GRIFFITH | Art and Eileen Janovsky know about commitment.

Art, 97, and Eileen, 88, just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. The year after they were married, Art helped to form the Griffith Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America.

Members, often referred to as Ikes, say the Janovskys never miss an event or meeting at the chapter.

It all started because Eileen was interested in wildlife, so it was a nice fit when Art, an avid hunter and fisherman, asked her on a date.

They worked together at the former Smith-Victor Corp. in Griffith, a company that manufactures and distributes photographic equipment.

"He was a shipping clerk, and I worked in the assembly line," Eileen said.

"She was so nice," Art said. "When we started going together, she just went right along with me."

Their first date was to a dance and they've been together ever since.

When they got married, Art was a member of a conservation club in East Chicago. That group evolved into the Griffith Chapter of the Izaak Walton League.

Art and the other men involved in the group built the clubhouse and dug the lakes themselves.

"All the men were out rolling up their sleeves," Eileen said. "Us women got disgusted because our husbands were at work all week and we had the kids all week and there they are at the Ikes, so we packed up the kids and made a picnic out of it."

When the group first started, the primary goal was acquiring and preserving the land.

"We went to different organizations, farmers that had land and got them interested in talking to us and in talking to the state to donate the land," Art said.

"They were also interested in anything that might pollute the air and water," Eileen said.

The Ikes bring groups from the Carmelite Home and nursing homes out to the Griffith chapter once a year and treat them to a meal and a day in the outdoors. The trips are among the Janovskys' favorite events with the group.

"She's a mother to all those kids," Art said.

"I enjoy seeing the young ones go out there," Eileen said. "The little kids out there playing and with their fishing poles just warm my heart."

Eileen said she believes more needs to be done to teach the next generation about conservation.

"We started it, but they have to keep it going," she said.

The couple recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary with a party with friends and family at the Izaak Walton League's Griffith clubhouse. 

Art has won numerous awards from the group over the years, and the pavilion at the Griffith chapter is now named for Art and Eileen.

The couple said they have no intentions of slowing down their involvement in the Ikes or the Griffith Historical Society, the Griffith Swinging Seniors or St. Mary's Church.

"The Ikes have a hog roast coming up, so we've got to go to that," Eileen said of the Ikes.

"It's my time to do the cooking," Art said.

Eileen laughed.

"It's been his time the last 10 times," she said.

The couple said the secret to their long lives lies in dedication, to each other and the causes they have championed.

"Just keep up with things and don't stop fighting for what you think is important," Art said.

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