We are only as great as our members!
Every month we recognize one or two of the many unique, friendly, and hard-working individuals who are choosing to make their wellness a priority at the Duke Center for Living at Fearrington.
July 2017 – John Stell
John was born and raised in Newark, NY, a small town upstate near Lake Ontario. He attended the College of Forestry at Syracuse University, where he joined the Air Force ROTC program. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as an officer in the Air Force. In the Air Force, he went through the flight training program and worked in jet fighters. Over his first 12 years, John flew a variety of fighter aircraft. He flew 164 combat missions in the F-105, many over North Vietnam. He and his wife love to travel, and were fortunate that over half of his 30-year career was spent in other countries including England, Germany, Iran, Turkey, Korea, Thailand, and Bolivia.
John was not involved in sports, aside from track, in school. His career in the Air Force however encouraged him to stay fit, which he had done his entire adult life. For John and his wife, one of the deciding factors when they moved into Galloway Ridge was DCFL. He joined immediately after moving in 2015.
John walks briskly for about 4 miles, 3 days per week. He alternates his walking days with a circuit on the weight machines. He used to run more, but has since eased up to avoid his knee giving him trouble. Walking, with the occasional jog, gets the job done!
John is motivated to continue exercising for a variety of reasons. First, it keeps his weight stable, since he likes to eat! (Who doesn’t?!) Exercise also makes him feel better, and it helps stave off, or slow mental decline. Having DCFL close by with its professional staff and fellow members leads to a sense of camaraderie which also keeps him motivated. He hates to miss a good workout!
John would certainly recommend DCFL to others in the area. DCFL is well outfitted with equipment and professional personnel, and is in a great location. There are numerous classes too that are suitable for individuals of all fitness levels.
June 2017 – Sue Blaustein
Sue moved to the Galloway Ridge-Fearrington community in June 2016 after calling Chapel Hill home for 30 years. Sports and fitness have always been a big part of Sue’s life. As a youngster in New York, she was pulled into sports by her older brother. In high school, Sue lettered in basketball, volleyball and softball. While attending the University of Pittsburgh, Sue stayed active in club sports and established a life-long love of taking long walks and hikes with friends.
As a working mom, she always made time for walking and jogging; she also fell in love with racket/paddle sports, especially tennis. Family camping, biking and hiking became additional active hobbies. Sue is now a member of DCFL and loves the fact that access to the center’s programs are literally at her back door. The nice part of going to DCFL classes is that the trainers are especially good at pointing out how to modify exercises to accommodate each person’s limitations. Sue admits that although she is as active as she has always been, she has had to make some concessions to the age of her knees and other joints.
Sue currently walks five-six miles most days and takes a variety of DCFL classes each week. These include Full Body Stretch, Zumba, Chair Pilates and more. Sue also enjoys the special dance (e.g. belly dancing) classes, and she attends various fitness clinics offered throughout the year. Through the Galloway Ridge Wellness Team, Sue has taken hikes on various sections of the American Tobacco Trail and classes like Orienteering and Scottish dancing. Sue’s guiding light, when it comes to fitness, is the advice her niece (a fitness manager) shared with her years ago: If you are trying to figure out what fitness routine is best for you, the answer is that the best routine is the one that you actually want to do (as long as you do it)!
May 2017 – Kelsey Buckner
Kelsey is a Pittsboro native, born and raised! She went to PACE Academy High School, then The Body Therapy Institute for Massage. She is currently a local massage therapist and yoga teacher.
Kelsey joined DCFL after a friend brought her one day as a guest. She has been hooked since, and has been a member for about two years. Her grandmother is also a member.
Her workout routine consists of “a little bit of everything,” but strength training is her favorite. She loves feeling the power in her muscles, especially since they support her in massage.
Her motivation comes from having fun! She enjoys her time in the gym, and loves knowing that she is strong and healthy. Through exercise she has lost fat, gained muscle, and improved her cardiovascular system! By taking the time to be her own wellness advocate, she will be rewarded not only now, but in the future.
Exercising not only keeps her physically balanced, but helps the mind as well. DCFL gives Kelsey a place where she can leave everything at the door. She says, “A good workout can train a bad day away”.
Kelsey stays busy with school, work, and exercise, but also enjoys making soap, and spending time with her boyfriend and cats. She would recommend DCFL to others because she knows that there are highly trained and skilled professionals at her fingertips. She recommends us to her friends all the time!
April 2017 – Nancy Jenkins
Nancy was born and raised just down the road in Raleigh. She went to school at UNC for Physical Therapy and calls herself a “rabid” Carolina basketball fan! Her father played JV basketball at Carolina, so she became a Tarheel fan at a very young age. She regularly attends games with her son, Jason who lives in Raleigh.
Her first job as a PT was at Rex Hospital in Raleigh. She then worked in St. Louis for 8 years before going back to school in 2001 to become a pastor. She was ordained in 2007 and first worked as a hospital chaplain at a continuing care facility in Savannah, where she loved it and all the people she met! Her last call was in Hagerstown, MD as a congregational minister, where she spent 5 years before moving to Fearrington Village in January of 2013.
Nancy has three children and four grandchildren. She also has some furry children at home: her rescued dog, Sprout, and her cat, Cobi. In her spare time she loves to garden, read, and travel. She has been on two South African safaris and considered living abroad in retirement. Her favorite book is currently A Dog’s Purpose.
Nancy is fairly new to DCFL. She originally joined because the doctor told her she would either have to lose weight or start taking insulin. Since joining in January, she has already lost 20 pounds! While it was originally about the weight loss, Nancy says she is motivated to continue exercising by the way she feels overall, and that now she needs smaller clothes! She loves to walk both at the DCFL and with her dog. She says DCFL has a wonderful atmosphere, and great people!
March 2017 – Meyer Liberman
Meyer Liberman was born and raised in Manhattan, NY where he lived for 62 years. While he had early aspirations to become a teacher, he ended up majoring in Economics at Oberlin College in 1951. He then obtained a Master of Arts in American History from Columbia University in 1952.
Meyer found a career in business, which included retail management and a travel and tour company which he founded. His travel company, headquartered in Manhattan, specialized in African Safaris. His company sent about 20,000 travelers to Africa over 20 years. At the age of 62, he moved to Chapel Hill and did real estate work in the Triangle. He stayed in Chapel Hill for 20 years before moving to Fearrington 5 years ago. Meyer has been involved in sports and physical activities such as skiing, tennis, golf, and squash his whole life, as well as running marathons until the age of 60! Upon moving to Fearrington, he immediately joined the DCFL.
Meyer works out three times per week on the aerobic machines, does lots of stretching, and makes sure to spend some time in the “wonderful” spa. He also indulges in the occasional massage from Jane. He says that while his marathon days are over, he is motivated to remain in the best shape he can and keep the good days rolling! He has one daughter, Elyse, who is also a member for the DCFL, as is his wife, Roni. Of all the health clubs he has belonged to, Meyer says the DCFL ranks high. The facility, as well as the friendliness of the staff and members at the DCFL make it a highlight of Meyer’s activities each week.
February 2017 – Terry Ransbury
Originally from Western NY State, I moved to the Triangle area in 1996 to be near my kids and eventually grandkids. My late wife and I moved to Galloway Ridge in 2007 from Holly Springs, NC and I have called this place home ever since. My first career was as a Health and Physical Education teacher and coach for high school and college students primarily in NY State. I coached basketball, football and track & field athletes and was fortunate to have had several undefeated seasons over the years. I was honored to be inducted into the Sports Halls of Fame at State University of New York at Brockport, as well as Silver Creek and Clarence High Schools. My second career was as scout for the Buffalo Bills and Chicago Bears professional football teams. Before teaching, I also served in the United States Army 82nd Airborne Division back in the 1950’s. As a student athlete, avid golfer and teacher/coach, physical fitness has always been a priority of mine, so coming to DCFL was a natural fit. I’ve been coming to work out off and on for the past 9 years as a resident of Galloway Ridge and member of DCFL. I try to get some exercise in every day whether walking, strength-training, stretching or calisthenics. In this past year, I’ve been working in one-on-one personal training sessions with Jamie and they have served as a bridge from physical therapy sessions I was doing after recovering from a fall last year. This one-on-one time has helped keep me motivated and focused to gain back strength, balance and mobility that I lost because of the fall. My dream is to get back on the golf course one day!
Seeing continued improvement keeps me motivated to coming back. I also rely on the expert advice of my trainer to keep me on the right track. Coming to DCFL has helped with balance, strength, heart health and general well-being, and working out is an important part of my week. The facilities here are very nice and in addition, the staff and trainers are also top-notch! It is a great place to work out. I have and would recommend DCFL to others and have enjoyed my time here.
January 2017 – John and Emily Cocowitch
John & Emily Cocowitch moved to Fearrington Village in October of 2015 from Prince William County, Virginia after living 25 years in the DC metro area. This move followed John’s 2nd retirement from the Department of the Navy (DON) as a Federal Civilian Employee at the Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, VA for 13 years where he was a senior Program Manager and member of the Defense Acquisition Community. The son of a career Naval Aviator, John was born in Washington, DC but lived in VA, CA, FL, ME, RI, NC and Canada during his Dad’s 31 year career. He is a graduate of Georgia Tech but holds multiple additional Master’s degrees.
Emily is a native Tar Heel, growing up in Raleigh, NC. She is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and began her teaching career in Virginia Beach, VA where she met John, who was serving as a mine and bomb disposal officer. She continued to teach elementary school and worked in both public and law libraries in Northern Virginia. John & Emily began their Navy life together in 1974 in a 30 year active duty career that took them to Hawaii, California, Maryland, Virginia, and England.
They have two grown, married sons and seven grandchildren under the age of 6 years. They joined DCFL soon after moving to Fearrington. They wanted to continue their fitness activities, plus many of their new acquaintances recommended that they join. Emily enjoys the group classes and is a regular participant in cardio, CORE, Strong & Limber, and Total Body Stretch. John uses the track, the Keiser machines and the pool. The group camaraderie, superb equipment, fabulous instructors and the act of staying fit, keep us motivated. Staying active and engaged with fitness and other people, gives a sense of well-being and health. They definitely recommend the DCFL for the Fun, Fitness and Friendship!
December 2016 – Sheila Peluso
Sheila grew up in Brooklyn, New York and attended Brooklyn College where she studied Economics. After college she went to work in quality control for Coca Cola which led her to working in quality control for a pharmaceutical company. Sheila went back to school to get her graduate degree in Statistics from Rutgers and met her husband while doing it! After school she continued her career working in the pharmaceutical industry as a data analyst for clinical trials. Sheila moved to North Carolina in 2001 and has been here ever since!
Sheila originally started exercising at UNC Wellness at Meadowmont after completing physical therapy there. She eventually joined DCFL in 2009 because it was a more convenient commute from home, and she’s now been a member with us for over 7 years! Sheila enjoys swimming in the pool, trying out new classes, and she recently started resistance training with one of our personal trainers. She says the desire to improve her walking and overall physical fitness keeps her motivated to continue. Sheila is always trying out new classes and attending clinics to learn new exercises and ways to challenge herself despite the challenges she faces with her leg injury. You may find Sheila swimming in the pool, in a group exercise class or working out on the machines. If you see her tell her to keep up the great work!
November 2016 – Matthew Leavitt
Matthew is originally from New York City but has lived in Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Maine, and now resides in Fearrington Village. His first career was in survey and market research and in his second career he owned computer stores while residing in Maine. Matthew originally joined DCFL because it was recommended he start a non weight-bearing exercise program to alleviate some of his back pain. He started working out in the pool, then he added yoga classes to his routine and then cardio machines.
He now combines all three and has been a member with us for 7 years! Matthew has lost 40 pounds since he first joined DCFL and is motivated to continue his program here so he can keep his weight down and extend the productive part of his life. Matthew says he frequently recommends DCFL to others because of its friendly staff, great yoga classes, variety of other classes, pool, hot tub, and state of the art equipment. You can find Matthew getting his 45 minutes of cardio in on the treadmill or the Arc trainer, balancing on the BOSU ball, relaxing in the hot tub or a yoga class.
If you see him, tell him to keep up the great work!
October 2016 – Phyllis and Richard Beane
Phyllis is a Jersey girl but has spent most her life in North Carolina. She was a school teacher in New Jersey, Washington D.C., and in Rochester, NY. Phyllis also served as a volunteer on several school boards and commissions in Chapel Hill and Orange County. Richard was born in Roanoke, VA and has worked as a private practice Orthodontist for many years. He also has taught college full and part-time throughout his career and is currently on the adjunct faculty at UNC.
Phyllis and Richard have been members at DCFL for three years now and love that it is a close and convenient commute from home. They both believe that exercise is the key to well-being and work to maintain physical and mental health with an active, independent life style. Phyllis and Richard say that their regular attendance at DCFL has helped them maintain their well-being and the variety of excellent classes and programs keeps them motivated to continue. They believe that the staff is wonderful, well trained, helpful and encouraging, and would definitely recommend DCFL to others. You may see Phyllis in one of the many aqua aerobics classes, Yoga, or stretch classes. The aqua classes are her favorite and she believes that there is something medicinal about them. You can find Richard working on one of the exercise machines, lifting free weights, in the pool, or running on the indoor track. He finds the free weights most beneficial for building and maintaining upper body strength. Next time you see Richard and Phyllis be sure to say hello and keep up the great work!
September 2016 – Claire H. Brown
Claire was born in Westport, Connecticut where she spent many years of her childhood and teenage years. She also spent three years of school in Montreal, Canada where she attended a French convent and quickly learned to speak French because it was mandatory to do so at the dinner table or you didn’t eat. After high school Claire joined the US Marine Corps and was stationed in Santa Ana, California for two years. After the Marines, Claire worked in early television for the BBDO advertising agency for twelve years.
Claire and her husband raised many kids and after the youngest was gone she went back to school at age 48 and attended the University of Connecticut at Stamford where she studied English Literature. Claire became a role model for women going back to school and ended up graduating Phi Beta Kappa. She even has the necklace to prove it! After winning a battle with lung cancer, Claire’s doctor suggested DCFL. She joined in 2005 and has been exercising with us every since. Claire says the fear of stopping keeps her motivated to continue and it must be working because at age 92 she’s still going strong! You can find Claire keeping the fitness instructors on their toes in the Senior Fitness classes and if you see her, ask her to tell you a joke, she knows a few good ones.
August 2016 – Gary Piontak and Ken Edwards
Ken and Gary AKA “Huff and Puff”, both hail from Chicago where they wrestled junkyard dogs, sang the blues, and befriended Bad Bad Leroy Brown. Gary first joined DCFL as an employee of the Member Services team.
Gary worked for us for two years and since retiring he has become a regular face here at DCFL. He noticed while working at DCFL there were a lot of heavy things to pick up in the gym, so naturally he decided it would be a good goal to pick them all up and put them back down. He’s still hard at work. Gary is motivated by the faces he sees at the gym. “They are doing as much as they can for as long as they can.” He’s very grateful to the personal trainer at DCFL that gave him the skills to swim open water…and best of all, he likes the way he looks in those tinted goggles.
Ken is naturally adventurous so he rightfully joined DCFL on a quest for a new adventure. Ken has been “living the dream” with us for three and a half years now. He says equal parts fear and vanity keep him motivated to continue, as well as seeing others older than himself continue to stay fit no matter their physical or mental challenges. You can find Huff and Puff working hard lifting all the heavy weights here at DCFL, or you may see them zoom by on a run around Fearrington. Don’t blink or you’ll miss them. They are terrific members and an inspiration to watch, so if you see them, tell them to keep up the hard work!
July 2016 – Gerry Taschabold
Gerry recently moved to Pittsboro with his wife in 2013 from southern Maryland after retiring from a 44 year career in Naval Engineering. During his career Gerry worked for the Department of Defense, the U.S. Navy, and Northrup Grumman on projects to modernize naval warships and airplanes such as the V-22 Osprey. In his last job, Gerry worked as a consultant to the maintenance staff of the Navy’s Blue Angels. He is most proud of his work in helping to design the USS Bunker Hill, the San Antonio-class amphibious ship, and the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier.
Gerry joined DCFL this past August after being introduced during his first physical therapy session. He was very impressed with the facility, pool, whirlpool, indoor track, and felt it would be great to help him continue his exercise after completing physical therapy. Gerry is motivated to be as fit as he can at his age and with a disability. Since being at DCFL he has seen results in better maintenance of his weight and has more agility and self confidence. He really enjoys meeting like-minded people with interesting stories and has become friends with many members and staff at DCFL. He has also enjoyed learning in classes such as Total Brain Health and Healthy Cooking. You can find Gerry pedaling away on one of the recumbent bikes, Nu-Steps, walking on the track upstairs, or in the pool.
June 2016 – Ray and Cathy Morehead
Ray and Cathy recently moved to North Carolina this past March from West Virginia. Ray writes computer code and Cathy’s professional background is in healthcare. Both Ray and Cathy joined DCFL the day they moved here and love it because it is a beautiful facility within such close proximity to their house. They love that everyone knows their name when they come in and are constantly meeting new people and making new connections.
Exercise has been a big part of Ray and Cathy’s routine for many years. They say that it is easy to stay motivated at DCFL because there is a great variety of classes and the staff is always helpful if you need some new ideas for your routine. They are motivated to stay as fit as possible for as long as they can and have been seeing great results since they joined DCFL. You may see Ray hard at work lifting weights, on the elliptical, or in spin class. You can find Cathy swimming laps in the pool or taking Pilates, Yoga, and Tai Chi classes. She also just finished our first Total Brain Health: Brain Workout class, and enjoyed it very much!
May 2016 – Teenie Sanders
Teenie grew up in Montclair, New Jersey. She was a stay at home mom of 5 children. Teenie joined DCFL when the center first opened and has been a member for 10 years. She joined because she had a stroke and lost some of her vision. She needed a place to workout where help was available when she needed it. She loves to walk on the treadmill and also works with a personal trainer 3 times per week on strength, core, and balance exercises.
Teenie appreciates the motivation of the staff. She was never a great athlete growing up, and really enjoys what she does in the gym. Teenie doesn’t let her limitations with vision interfere with her exercise routine. Teenie says her health and wellbeing are great because of DCFL, and that she would go back to being a couch potato if she didn’t have this great facility. She highly recommends DCFL to others and says the staff is awesome!