As a copy editor at The New York Times, Duane Stoltzfus seemingly had it all for a young man. He loved his job, and his wife loved her work at Amnesty International. The couple had two young daughters and access to a multitude of entertainment and food options in the New York City metropolis.
But it wasn’t the life they wanted. Their lives were unrelentingly hectic with no time to relax and enjoy the opportunities around them.
In 2000, Goshen College offered Duane a position as a professor of communications. He and his wife, Karen, met each other during their college studies. Duane, Karen and their daughters, Emily and Kate, packed their possessions and moved to Goshen.
They were unsure how they would adjust to life in a much smaller place.
“There’s so much about Goshen that I’d say is healthy for the body, mind and spirit.”
“It’s on a right scale and so we get to take advantage of all these wonderful resources available in Goshen.”
“All of this continues to surprise me and delight me.”
New York City offered an abundance of ways for the Stoltzfus family to spend their evenings and weekends, “and yet we were often so tired from commuting that at the end of the day or the end of the week, we didn’t want to go anywhere. We just wanted to stay home,” Duane said. His “often horrific” work commute often took an hour or more one way and changed him in a way he didn’t like.
“I would step in to the car in the morning and there was just this immediate change in personality,” he explained. “I would be embarrassed for you to meet the person that I was then when I was driving. You had to be aggressive and you have to be assertive to survive on the road, and I would say I rose to the challenge.”
Now living in a neighborhood near Kercher’s Sunrise Orchards, Duane is able to bike 15 minutes from his home to his office on Goshen College’s campus.
“I enjoy the bike ride. I get here in a good mood,” he said. “And the amount of energy we have, what it takes to get around… it’s much more reasonable. It’s on a right scale and so we get to take advantage of all these wonderful resources available in Goshen.”
Duane loves the way the arts are continuing to gain momentum and quality in Goshen and the way his daughters were both able to participate in outstanding musical programs at Goshen High School, while also receiving strong educations. He’s elated about the amount of picturesque bike paths around the city. His appreciation for Goshen, though, is more about the balance he finds here.
“There’s so much about Goshen that I’d say is healthy for the body, mind and spirit,” he said.
“Certainly the farmer’s market is one that feeds both the body but also the spirit in important ways,” he said. He named Rachel’s Bread, in the farmer’s market building, as a place that’s always busy Saturday mornings and where he’ll always see people he knows. “Clearly, they could more efficiently purchase bread or breakfast somewhere else, but they chose to go there because it gives them something beyond the frittata or the loaf of bread while they’re there — the sense of being part of a community, wanting to be around others.”
“All of this,” he said, “continues to surprise me and delight me.”