With a little luck and a great work ethic, the real estate profession will ultimately put you on the doorstep of folks from all walks of life. My life has been blessed by real estate and I have gotten to meet some incredible people. Sadly, there are occasions where I am left to serve those survived by a loved one and selling the home they once shared is often the final step toward a fresh start. After many fond memories of Bill Varney were shared with me at the listing appointment, I began to understand that this was a beloved man of many talents. Bill is an 2-time Oscar-winning sound mixer for “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” and “Indiana Jones – Raiders of the Lost Ark.” How cool is that? Bill was a Hollywood veteran, having worked on more than 80 films over his career and elite directors, like THE Stephen Spielberg.
In addition to being a sound mixing genius, Bill was also well known for being a fun guy to be around. You can see it in the faces of his wife, Suzanne and his daughter, Lisa, as they recall their favorite stories of their beloved patriarch. I got to hear all kinds of amazing Hollywood tales, from heated encounters with directors, to lavish studio parties. The family once went to a party where the movie executives transformed the studio lot into an exact replica of New York’s Central Park. I am told that it was a truly magical evening and I can’t imagine what it must of been like to rub elbows with Hollywood’s elite on such a frequent basis.
So how did this trio end up in Fairhope from Hollywood? Suzanne and Lisa actually took off on a cross country road trip adventure and stayed at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear along the way. They fell in love with the our coastal community and told Bill all about the little town they had discovered upon their return to California. A small town on the water was just what Bill had envisioned as an ideal retirement destination and before too long, they had purchased a home in the popular golf course community, Rock Creek. The family was looking for a total change of pace and traded big city living for a quaint southern town overlooking Mobile Bay.
As they adjusted to small town life in the south, they did miss their favorite Los Angeles restaurants, going to the opera and having an old fashioned delicatessen nearby. It seemed like a pretty good trade overall, having left behind the dense traffic, abundant crime and the fast pace of the big city. They enjoyed golfing as a family, thus Rock Creek seemed like an ideal place to call home. Bill always wanted to have his own boat and it is my understanding that he purchased one almost immediately. He could dry store it at Fly Creek Marina, just a few miles from their home, and he was call the marina an hour in advance to request that the dock-hands launch, fuel and ice down the coolers for him. Of course, there were also practical reasons for choosing Rock Creek, like the close proximity to conveniences of town and Thomas Hospital, as Bill was still recovering from open-heart surgery.
I think they picked the prefect spot on a quiet street, with a large lot that backs up to a beautiful lake front setting. The rear of the home features lots of windows for gathering large amounts of natural light into the main living spaces, to include the master suite, the great room with cathedral ceilings and fireplace, the kitchen with breakfast area and an encloses sunroom, all of which provided a high-elevation vantage point of the lake. Bill did had a small swimming pool installed and the ladies said that “he was in that pool almost every day.” Suzanne loves to cook and she had the kitchen professionally remodeled to meet the standards of a classically trained chef, with a Viking 6-burner gas range and a massive kitchen island.
In their own words, they “traded the Hollywood Hills for the Gulf of Mexico” and have no regrets. When Bill fell ill, both Suzanne and Lisa felt like the local community and medical staff rallied around them in their time of need. Loosing Bill was the hardest thing they have ever had to endure as a family and having the kindness of locals to lean own was a huge help, given that they were so far away from their support system in Los Angeles. Bill passed away on April 2, 2011 at the age of 77 from congestive heart failure. The “City Girls” he left behind are ready to start fresh and begin a new chapter in their lives and it appears that sunny Orlando, Florida is their top choice. They are going to miss our friendly little town and feasting on “best shrimp they have ever tasted” at the Fairhope Yacht Club. According to Lisa who has sampled shrimp from coast to coast, “no one can compete with gulf shrimp!”
For more information on this amazing lake front home or to tour all Rock Creek Subdivision homes for sale in Fairhope AL, call the Jason Will Real Estate sales office at 251-866-6464.