A long-time real estate broker, she has a myriad other endeavors
By Stefan Yablonski
Real estate mogul. Entertainer. Christmas tree entrepreneur. Fitness instructor. Mix it all together and you get Faye Beckwith.
She is a Zumba instructor, a Christmas tree grower, a performer who often appears with her husband, Jack, in different venues in CNY and elsewhere.
And she finds time to sell real estate. A full-time broker, she has been doing real estate for 39 years now, she said.
“Jack and I have a lot of fun performing. We even perform in Florida as well; there are a lot of seniors down there,” she said. “People like to dance to our music. By golly, we’ve done polkas — but that’s not our forte.”
He had a band back in the day that was really successful. It was five or six people.
“Years ago, he said ‘we really have to do music again.’ I said, ‘are you crazy? Who is going to go out and listen to old people?’ And by golly, they do! People enjoy the music that we do,” she said.
Besides performing music, the two of them are still running the Christmas tree farm in Hannibal — “Jack mostly. I do the wreath business,” she said.
He planted the whole month of April and they have had serious deer problems on the farm.
“So we are trying to rectify that situation; had to cull out hundreds of trees — that’s the nature of agriculture. Farming is always subject to those kinds of things. The tree farm is a big investment, nine months of mostly Jack’s time,” she said.
Of her myriad vocations, can she pick a favorite?
“A favorite, humm. I’ve been really passionate about the real estate business [ she owns Freedom Real Estate] for a long time. It’s quite rewarding to help people improve their living conditions. It doesn’t matter if they are downsizing or maybe going to assisted living or buying their first home — it’s a nice experience to be able to help them.
“The music — that’s therapeutic. With the music it’s very therapeutic and as we get older we have to keep active and keep our minds sharp — performing the music, learning the chords, even doing a little writing. Very therapeutic.
“The tree farm, really it is wonderful to see those families come out — a family tradition; taking the time out of their very busy schedule to come and choose a real tree. No matter what the weather, they come in the rain and mud and snow and sunshine.”
“I can’t choose a favorite,” she said. “They are all just part of a well-rounded life, you know. Physically, mentally and emotionally.”
Zumba is something that keeps her physical.
“We tend to sit down and fall asleep — so we don’t do that (laughs). I try not to do that,” she said. “I like to keep active.”
Their grandson is the manager of the northeast branch of Wood Mizer.
“He’s very successful at that. We have a son who is with the sheriff’s department and a son who is a contractor,” she said. “And Noelle, our daughter, she does the hard work in real estate. She really does a lot of work. When we go to Florida — we’re still open for business. She’s just a great agent. Noelle carries the brunt of work for Freedom Real Estate. Her excellent customer service skills are a benefit to me as well as to our clients and customers. The real estate and the tree farm, all the kids participate.”
“Noelle teaches Zumba. We both teach Zumba. So, when I go to Florida, she takes over my class,” she added.
It’s more than just “jumping around to music.”
“A lot of people think that’s all it is. If you look online, you can see a lot of little skinny people jumping up and down,” she said. “For us, I think it’s more as it was intended to be — something for all-age people to move to the music, with some basic dance steps. You can be a dancer or an athlete with Zumba, or not — either way whatever works for you.
Her class doesn’t do the jumping around. Her classes are low-impact.
“You get tired after a day of wreath– making or real estate or whatever and you go and take your Zumba class and it’s very uplifting. I love it; I love helping people,” she said. “Some people see all these skinny little people jumping up and down and they think they can’t do it. But they can. Actually, there is chair Zumba just like there is chair yoga. I tried it a couple of times at Seneca Hill Manor. Oh my, men and women together came out — some with their walkers. Oh the smiles on their faces — you could just feel the energy. It was heart-warming. I enjoyed that. I don’t do that on a regular basis; that was a couple years ago.”
You know, you slow down whether you want to or not, she mused.
Faye and Jack do enjoy wintering for a few weeks in Florida, she said.
“I don’t really know what we’d do if we totally retired. We’re not keen on just sitting around,” she said. “I have slowed down — but will not stop doing the things I love until I have to!”