By: Pat Winter
After living in Fairfax Station in northern Virginia for 20 years, and commuting to Washington, D.C. every day for work, Dean and Sue Englehardt were looking for a place to retire. Dean, a career Navy man and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, had been stationed in Norfolk early in his career. The Engelhardts still had many friends there, so the neighborhoods of Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, and Deep Creek were where they began their search. But nothing seemed to fit together or feel just right. So they broadened their search to include northwestern Maryland, southwestern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina.
“We just stumbled onto this place,” commented Sue when referring to the Plantation. On the way home from a trip to New Bern, they saw a billboard advertising Albemarle Plantation and decided it might merit a look. They came for a visit on a weekend package and in 2008 purchased their cul-de-sac lot on the Yeopim Creek in Bosher’s Point. After both retired last June, they moved into their newly constructed home, with its stunning views of our Marina and The Sound. Even after six months, the sunsets and sunrises, the dolphins in the river, and the blue herons in the wetlands still surprise and delight them. “The beauty of this place is incredible,” remarked Dean, and Sue agreed that whenever they discussed the building plans for the house “it was all about the view.”
Dean and Sue, high school sweethearts, grew up on neighboring family farms in Iowa. After Dean graduated from Annapolis and was stationed in Norfolk, Dean and Sue were married, and Sue enrolled in Old Dominion University to complete her degree programs.
The Navy moved Dean and Sue from various locations on the East Coast to Hawaii. But finding a job after each move was a snap for Sue. She was able to continue her career in the federal government as a human resources professional, retiring from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the Executive Director, Human Resources.
Dean was busy as a Surface Warfare Officer and later as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer. After Dean retired from the Navy, he worked as a government contractor and later as a civil service employee, serving as the Deputy for the Strategic Systems Programs Nuclear Weapons Safety, Security and Compliance Branch, until his retirement from his second career.
The Engelhardts have one son, James, who was born in Hawaii and is a 2016 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He is now in flight school in Corpus Christi and hopes to be assigned to Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City to continue his training. His fiancée is completing her doctorate in audiology from East Carolina State University, and their destination wedding is planned for this October in Asheville, NC. The Engelhardts both agree their choice of retirement location couldn’t have worked out better to stay in touch with their son and his fiancée.
After six months of retirement, both Dean and Sue are still getting used to the idea of having time to relax and move at a slower pace. They are now able to get back to Iowa more often, where they built a cabin in 2013 on Dean’s family farm. They are very interested in the history of this area and the plans our community and surrounding towns have for future development. In fact, they are taking a civics class in Elizabeth City right now to familiarize themselves with the workings of North Carolina government. Volunteering is high on their list of priorities, and Dean is already helping out the Open Door Pantry and our “Polishing the Brass” initiative. While Sue has joined the Women’s Club and a book club, both Dean and Sue are taking advantage of the exercise classes offered at the Community Center. Travel is also an important part of their retirement plans with a trip to France and their son’s “Winging Ceremony” high on their list of destinations.
Welcome home, Dean and Sue! We’re so glad that billboard sent you our way!