Fearrington Faces

Article by Nancy Johnston Hall; photo by Donald Lokuta

Suzy and Dave Shaub

It took three years for Suzy and Dave Shaub to sell their property in Maine before moving to their home in Bradford Place five years ago. As Dave puts it, “It was a complicated property.” He is being modest. Yankee Magazine describes their former 200-year-old home thusly: “… considered one of the finest period homes in all of New England.”

Dave and Suzy left behind seven buildings, 56 acres of meadow and woods, and a large home that is on the National Register of Historic Places, which they lovingly restored and maintained. However, they didn’t leave behind the treasure trove of lovely 18th and 19th century American antiques that once filled their Maine home and even some of the outbuildings. A visit to their home here, imbued with the rich hues of history, is a real treat.

Before their 20 years in Maine, the Shaubs lived in Lake Bluff, Illinois, where they both taught school—Dave, high school science and Suzy, younger children—and raised a daughter and son. They reinvented themselves, as Dave explains, when they moved to Maine and became preservers of history. Now, here in Fearrington Village, they have reinvented themselves once again.

“We thought we were retiring here, but we have a very full calendar,” Dave laughs. Their focus these days is on people, especially those close by. “We consciously decided we wanted to be active in our neighborhood first,” Suzy says. “There are 43 houses in Bradford Place. We were asked to be Ambassadors for Fearrington Cares so we thought okay, that’s a great way to get to know people. We try to make someone who has just moved in feel welcome.”

The Shaubs took over the Ambassadors role from Rhoda Lituchy and Flo Saffron, the original Ambassadors for Bradford Place when the program began.

Most new neighbors know little or nothing about Fearrington Cares, which is why the Ambassador program is helpful, says Suzy. “Some people know one thing about the organization—they have equipment, they have drivers, or they have movement classes. But they don’t know the whole picture,” she says. “When I meet someone who needs a walker, I can say, ‘Fearrington Cares has one you can use.’” Dave adds, “Only about half of Fearrington’s population is covered by the Ambassador program.” So volunteers are welcome.

Suzy and Dave also drive for Fearrington Cares, going together to transport Fearrington residents who can’t drive themselves to appointments. Usually Dave drives while Suzy navigates and accompanies their passenger into the building or office. The Shaubs also sing in the Village Singers and attend the Unitarian Universalist Church in Chapel Hill, where their daughter, a professor at UNC, and her family are members.

But getting to know their neighbors and helping out when they can are top priorities for both Shaubs. Suzy says it best: “Our reward is becoming acquainted with some really nice people. I think, too, we’re in this world to help each other. We’re paying it forward, as they say. Someday it will be we who need help.”


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