MOUNT HOLLY, VT. — John Stahura, 84, died early in the morning of July 6 when the van he was driving went off the road in Mount Holly. He and his wife Nancy were returning from a buying trip to New York State and departed later than expected. Their vehicle rolled several times before coming to a halt. Nancy, who broke a wrist, sternum and multiple ribs, was pulled from the wreckage by rescue workers and is recuperating at The Pines, a rehabilitation facility in Rutland, Vt., where she is expected to remain for the next two weeks.
Partners in Mill Brook Antiques, the Stahuras were scheduled to participate in the 40th Vermont Antiques Dealers Association Show in Woodstock on July 26 and 27. Nancy is a past president of the association.
John Stahura was born in Springfield, Mass., in 1930. He met his future wife at Cornell University and they married soon after he finished school. After several years in the US Marine Corps, John worked in the fields of personnel management and labor relations. He was employed by the Continental Can Corporation for two decades.
Interested in becoming antiques dealers, the couple scouted locations in northern New England before settling in Reading, Vt., where they opened an antiques shop specializing in American country furniture, folk art and farmhouse and country store smalls in 1975. They initially supplemented their income by working at other jobs, she as a social worker and he as a personnel manager. The antiques shop, 11 miles south of Woodstock, was open year-round. In addition to the VADA show, they participated in the Magic Mountain and Cabin Fever shows, among other events. Nancy hopes to resume dealing in the fall.
“Eventually, we both retired from our other jobs and that’s when we were really able to travel. We antiqued from Canada to Florida. In the glory days of the 1980s and 1990s, we sometimes sold two cupboards a week,” recalled Nancy. She has been comforted by an outpouring of concern from friends and colleagues in the trade and was heartened this week to hear of the progress of former Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy, who suffered a rib fracture in 2013. Her late husband was an avid Red Sox fan, she said.
“They were both wearing their seatbelts and couldn’t get free. A passing motorist heard the crash but couldn’t find the car. My father held my mother’s hand and managed to press the horn five times, which is how they were discovered. It was the last thing my father did and it may have saved my mother’s life. They had had a great day together and were doing what they loved,” said the couple’s son, Peter Stahura.
Besides his wife and son, John Stahura is survived by a daughter, Jennifer Hollander; his children’s spouses, Sam Hollander and Elizabeth Stahura; and five grandchildren, Dan, John, Rebecca, Gracie and Jack.
Services have not been announced.