‘Made for each other:’ Newlyweds killed in crash at 80th and Congress, 2 minutes from home

Joan and Peter Garton

Joan and Peter Garton

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee police identified the victims of the crash Monday evening, April 15 near 80th and Congress as 65-year-old Peter Garton and 66-year-old Joan Garton -- husband and wife.

They lived in Milwaukee, but the retirees spent much of their time at the Lake Country Playhouse in Hartland -- with Peter performing on stage and Joan in the audience, cheering him on.

They were newlyweds, but their love story spans decades.

"They knew each other, apparently, in high school, went their separate ways, found each other again, and were married last year," said Bob Hurd.

Members of the theater group said Peter and Joan Garton were eager to build a life together.

Bob Hurd

Bob Hurd

"They were very loving toward each other and to other people as well," said Hurd.

Hurd performed with Peter in the musical 1776 in 2017, and in A Christmas Carol during the 2018 holiday season.

"Peter immediately found a home here. Joanie was always sitting in the audience. If Peter was here, Joanie was here," said

Those would be the final shows the Gartons were a part of. Police said just before 6 p.m. Monday, a vehicle was conducting a U-turn when it struck the vehicle containing the Gartons. They died at the scene.

Two killed in crash near 80th and Congress

Two killed in crash near 80th and Congress

"I heard the sirens, but I thought, 'Well, you know, who knows what's going on,'" said neighbors of the Gartons.

The tragedy occurred two minutes from the Gartons' home. Their neighbor, Jill Wolf, and her friend, Nancy Conigliaro had gotten to know the Gartons well over summer barbecues and neighborhood events.

Neighbors of Peter and Joan Garton

Neighbors of Peter and Joan Garton

"They just were made for each other," said neighbors of the Gartons.

"In your wildest dreams, you wouldn't think it would be them," said neighbors of the Gartons.

Those at the Lake Country Playhouse said they planned to honor their friends by celebrating what they loved -- dedicating their next production in Peter and Joan Gartons' memory.

"It's a relationship that's built because people want to be here, and you want to be around the people that you're here with, and that was Peter and that was Joanie," said Hurd.

Lake Country Playhouse

Lake Country Playhouse

That next production is Mama Mia, scheduled to open during the first week of May.

The driver of the striking vehicle was questioned and released. Police said the driver was cooperating with the investigation.

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