Remembering Stuart

This past week, we attended the memorial service for Stuart Natof, who passed away last winter. When we looked back at our Airstream adventure–first getting started camping, the big repair and finally getting camping–Stuart was always with us. His knowledge–uncovering the major structural issues we’d faced–and friendship–holding our hands and supporting us through every repair–held us together when we really despaired about enjoying our trailer. He was a true friend.

The memorial left us painfully aware that Stuart’s life was more remarkable than we’d appreciated. He had a full history of adventures and creativity.

If the archives to this blog are explored, there are many references to him and his wife, Margaret. To be quite blunt–if we didn’t get his assistance and most importantly, morale support, we would have sold off our trailer long before ever having any adventures. As I went through photos of him, I found an old link to the above video, from the Cherry Blossom rally of 2008. At the time, we’d attended the rally with our trailer virtually gutted and a futon placed in the middle of the empty shell. Stuart was just happy we attended. The movie catches so much of what I remember of him–his gentle nature, the little planes he loved to fly and the way he’d charm children. What this lovely video can’t capture are his funny and intelligent conversations, which I think I’ll miss most of all.

After years of working on the trailer and the completion final restore from Frank, Stuart was eager to see the progress we’d made. A little over a year ago, we met up for the WDCU Airplanes and Airstreams rally, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. As soon as we arrived, Stuart was in our trailer, checking out every repair thoroughly. Then he gave me a bit of his favorite scotch in celebration.

Stuart looks on as his grandson shows off the tee shirt he tie dyed

My last memories of Stuart were of campfire stories, watching fireworks and finally Margaret and him pulling out of the campsite, towing his 1960s Airstream Bambi with his yellow restored 1940s Cadillac limousine. We stayed behind as he made a perfect Hollywood exit–his shiny trailer literally rolling out through farm fields into the sunset.

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12 Responses to “Remembering Stuart”

  1. Leonard Malec on August 18th, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    I just learned of Stu’s passing. My wife, Judy, & I were friends of Stuart & Nora when they lived in NJ & PA back in the 60′s & early 70′s. We worked together at Bell Labs & Red Arrow before he took the job at Union Camp. I met Margaret briefly in 1987 when they flew into Wagon Wheel airport near where we live in Sylvania, OH. Can you please provide a link to his obituary? Also, we’ve lost contact with Nora. Can you provide a current email, phone number or mailing address? Thanks, Len

  2. Lola peres on September 7th, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    So very sorry to just be learning this sad news. Stu was the reason I had the confidence many years ago to buy a Fiat Spyder convertible. He did the maintenance for me while listening to opera on his farm in Lovettsville, Virginia. Although I haven’t seen him for many years, there will be a whole in heart knowing that he is no longer nearby.

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