Jeanne Nott, a 73-year-old Loveland resident, was crowned Mrs. Colorado Senior this month and will compete in the national pageant competition in Hershey, Penn. next September.
Nott was crowned Queen at the 27th Annual Ms. Colorado Senior America Pageant on October 23 at Parker’s PACE Theater. The “Queen Joan” tribunal consists of first finalist Joanie Ryan and second finalist Marla Downer, both from Aurora. The other contestants who took part were Deejay Johnson, Liz Palmer, Kitty Robb, Pris Schnell and Lisa Wilson. Nott was crowned by the outgoing Queen of 2021, Dr. Marilyn Chipman of Aurora.
“I was 73, I turned last month and started thinking,” Nott said. “You know I have to do something different, especially after the pandemic and just sit there. And it gave me something. I actually signed up for 2020 but it was postponed so I had a lot of time to think about it and it took a long time to buy jewelry and dresses and things like that. And it was great, great therapy.
Nott is originally from New Jersey, before moving to Denver. Her husband, a now retired Colorado State University political science professor, led her to move to Loveland a few years ago.
Nott’s talent, which she performed in the contest as well as throughout the region, is stand-up comedy. During the conversation, she effortlessly switches from thoughtful aloud dialogue, offhand jokes, and prepared material sprinkled throughout what she has to say.
“That’s my thing – I walk in and people wave at me and they’re so warm and friendly,” Nott told The Reporter-Herald. “You know one day I walked in and a lady acted like she was my best friend and I asked, ‘Do you know who I am? And she said ‘No honey, but if you go to the reception they’ll tell you!’ It’s part of my routine.
She often performs in retirement homes and retirement communities, something that started when she was on the board of directors of one of these institutions and decided, on a whim, to tell jokes.
“They loved it. I saw how they went from just sitting there doing nothing or feeling alone, and I thought, ‘You know I’m going to do this,’ Nott said.
“My jokes are stories of things I’ve been through, because I’m a senior, I always tell people it’s very easy to be a senior comedian because I never have to write new material! ” she laughs. “But I do. They love marriage jokes, they love doctor jokes, because it’s a place they go a lot.
Both of Nott’s parents were community theater actors in South Jersey, and she followed in their footsteps, performing in a variety of high school and college shows. Her acting career continued in northern Colorado, where she appeared at Rialto Theater in Loveland and Bas Bleu in Fort Collins. At one point in college, she even played for the Pope.
She grew up on the East Coast, but in the 1970s she was sent to a single mom’s home in Omaha, New Brunswick after she got pregnant.
“It was a terrible experience,” she recalls. “One thing I remember, I was in labor, lying on a stretcher outside the delivery room, and I was crying because it hurt so bad, and I wasn’t prepared for all of that. And the nurse come over and looked at me, and I said, ‘It hurts so bad.’ And she said, “It serves you well. “
Nott was unable to retain his daughter, who was put up for adoption. Later in life, she met her child.
“She looks like me, she’s funny,” Nott said. She remained close to her daughter, as well as the adoptive parents and children of the girl, Nott’s grandchildren.
After getting married in Nebraska, Nott moved to Denver with her first husband, in a marriage that only lasted a few years.
Nott’s professional life consisted of over a decade of experience as a paralegal before securing a liaison position for former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm as Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy and Contemporary From the University of Denver. According to her, she ended up telling Lamm jokes for the duration of the job interview and then was called back with an offer.
It was through this work that she met a remarkable number of interesting people, ranging from television legend Tom Brokaw to actor and Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura. She also met her current husband through his job.
Lamm passed away earlier this year.
Residents might spot Nott in town. She said she went shopping at Macy’s with her crown and belt on to thank the staff who sold her the dress she wore in the pageant.
“I stop strangers and say, ‘Do you want to hear good news? I won Ms. Colorado Senior 2022, ”Nott said with a laugh.