Written By: Jane Samuel
It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our dear friend and colleague, Anita Targan. Anita was intelligent and perceptive, reading below the depths of peoples’ language, thoughts and feelings, finding the true essence of their beings.
Anita was born in New York City and was a “city girl” to her final days. She met and married her husband, Albert Targan and they moved to New Jersey where he was a founding partner of a medical research laboratory. They raised their three sons, David, Richard and Jonathan in New Jersey. She buried her youngest son, Jonathan in 2008. She is survived by her two eldest sons, David, a Dean at Brown University and his fiancé, Sylvia, and Richard and his wife Patty in New Jersey.
Anita was an Educator by both profession and “calling”. She became both a teacher and an Administrator in several New Jersey schools. Like many of the early IECA members, she was called to the work due to wanting to find schools that would best meet her children’s’ needs. She eventually was on the founding staff of two New Jersey private special needs schools that specifically addressed learning and the resultant emotional issues of young kids. Her husband died suddenly in 1981, leaving Anita a single parent with two children still at home. She eventually decided to offer her services and expertise to others and opened Anita Targan Associates. She quickly found the new and interesting world of special schools serving the needs of a variety of children worldwide. She joined IECA in 1988 and quickly began to organize a group of ECs’ focused on “Special Needs Schools.” She continued traveling and working through her retirement years as she so loved working to find the right school for every child.
Anita had a knack for listening, evaluating—carefully separating issues and needs before finally prescribing a course of educational planning that could span the years from Kindergarten through College. Traveling to see schools was a vital and important step. Anita well understood the importance of knowing and trusting the individuals at the school who would be working with her clients. She treated every client as if he/she were her own child and chose the people she thought could best meet the needs.
However, nothing was more exciting or interesting than being in New York, finding that great “early meal” and then attending a Broadway production. She loved art, music, drama and events of all kinds. Many of us made yearly trips to see her, excited to see what event she had planned. We were hosted in her home, introduced to friends and shop keepers in beautiful boutiques in the Morristown area. Not only did she expect that people would know who she was but, in fact, they generally did. She did not meet a person who did not quickly call her a friend. Thus, many Admission Directors shared an experience of training a new Receptionist only to be interrupted and being told, “There is someone named Anita Targan on the line and she said you would want to speak with her.” Of course, they did. And the new Receptionist soon learned to recognize her voice. The same was true of the way she trained her office staff. They quickly learned who Anita would want to “be interrupted” to speak with and did so courteously and promptly.
Anita gave up her home in Morristown and spent her final years in Providence, Rhode Island. She pined for the days in New Jersey and the strong social connections she had during her adulthood. Though her health was failing, she continued to challenge herself by reading and watching the news, keeping herself abreast of political and current events.
Anita will be missed by the many folks who treasure their friendship with her. A small graveside service will be held in New Jersey on Tuesday, September 15. The family will host a larger event to celebrate her life at a later date. Until then, to remember Anita, go to an art museum, treat yourself to a new outfit at your favorite boutique, support local artists by buying little items for your friends, share a good meal with a friend and attend a production once they are opened again. In other words, enjoy life to its fullest as our friend, Anita did.