By Nathan Ham
Beech Mountain’s recreation center has a new name honoring two of the town’s most avid supporters. The Buckeye Recreation Center is now known as the Fred and Marjorie Pfohl Buckeye Recreation Center after a surprise event honoring Fred and the memory of his late wife Margie.
“It was a great surprise. There are a lot of other people that deserve similar and there are a lot of other people that got me to the point I got to. I’ll accept the honor for all of the folks that have helped make Beech Mountain what it is,” said Fred. “I’ve enjoyed the Buckeye Rec Center, I was around when it was built and I helped initially with a lot of different things.
Fred remembers back to when the recreation center was completed, the parking lot doubled as a basketball court and they started adding landscaping and planting to make the area stand out even more.
“When we built it, we got a lot of criticism for it being so far away. Now, it’s one of the most popular places on the mountain for families, hikers, and it’s the pickleball capital of the High Country because we have indoor and outdoor pickleball courts,” said Pfohl. “The other night I went down there and counted 45 cars on a Sunday evening out doing different things.”
It was certainly an emotional moment for Fred while accepting the honor but not having his loving wife next to his side. Margie passed away on June 30.
“It was great that they were honoring both Margie and I, and she’s had as much to do with things as I have because she has always kept me on the right track and when there was ever any time when I questioned or had any anxiety about something, I always talked to her about it and she would always point me in the right direction. She’d always pat me on the back and tell me not to worry that things would be better. All of my success can be attributed to a great wife,” said Fred.
Being involved with recreation was always a passion for Fred. During his time in Vietnam, the Navy sent him into towns to bring recreation to the area and try to make life better for the residents of the war-torn country.
Fred, who was the first elected mayor of Beech Mountain, helped organize outdoor recreation events for families in the area and has served on the recreation committee since its inception. It was only fitting to celebrate everything the Pfohl’s have done for the mountain.
“I didn’t know anything about it until they told me they wanted me to come down there on Thursday afternoon. It kind of drizzled a little bit and it was cloudy, and then I thought about the fact that just about as they were about to start the event, the sun came out and I couldn’t help but think that was Marjorie bringing the sun out just in time for us,” he said.
Beech Mountain TDA Director Kate Gavenus had glowing remarks about Fred and Margie and everything they have helped accomplish in their years living in Beech Mountain.
“Fred and Margie have been great proponents for the town from the very beginning. Fred has been extremely involved in promoting recreation up here and getting out and exploring the mountain itself,” said Gavenus. “Fred was certainly surprised, proud, and pleased. It was a nice little event we had for them.
Rep. Ray Russell, who is a close friend of Fred’s, presented him with the award. The weather center for Beech Mountain that appears on Ray’s Weather website actually sits on top of Fred’s General Mercantile.
Looking ahead to the future of the recreation center, Fred says that they have a great staff that works hard to make everything happen and great people in the community that take advantage of what the recreation center has to offer.
“Even though Margie and Fred are above the door, there should be many, many others. I’ll just say they didn’t have room for everybody else’s names and ours were the shortest,” laughed Fred.
Jim Brooks, who is a longtime friend and employee at Fred’s General Mercantile, recalled the special bond that Fred and Margie shared together and how much they both meant to the community.
“Margie had a big heart. Little do people know how many folks she helped. She was kind of the mother of the mountain,” said Brooks.
Marjorie and Fred were married for 43 years. She is survived by her brother Charles Nomina and her eight children, Nancy Sposato, Johnny Sposato, Timmy Sposato, Carol Sposato, Jeannie Grimm (Mike ), Stephen Sposato (Laura), Mary Sue Driscoll (Don) and Jimmy Sposato (Stephanie). Marjorie had thirteen grandchildren, Christopher Hudmon, Timmy & Shannon Sposato, Matthew Sposato, Henry and Olivia Grimm, Zachary, Sam and Luke Sposato, Sean, William & Katie Driscoll, and Madison Sposato. Marjorie also has many “Store Children” that she has mothered over the years as well.
Pictures of the Fred and Margie Pfohl Buckeye Recreation Center