With deep sadness, we share the news that Paul S. Estabrook, the founder and proprietor of Virginia Gold Orchard, passed away on May 22, 2017 at his home on Fancy Hill in Natural Bridge, Virginia. He was 80 years old.
Paul lived a long, full life. He was born in Massachusetts, to Dorothy and Rolland Estabrook. He grew up in Saugus, Massachusetts and as a young man spent much of his free time teaching himself how to repair and build motorcycle engines. He graduated from Boston University with a degree in Aeronautical Technology. Paul spent the next 20 years working around the world as a supervising engineer for United Technologies, General Electric and Westinghouse. It was while living in South Korea in the 1970s that he met his wife, Youngsuk. They married in 1976 in Seoul and have two children together, Paul “PJ” and Valery. In 1989 Paul and his family moved to Rockbridge County, and together with his wife opened Virginia Gold Orchard, the much-beloved Asian pear farm in Natural Bridge.
Paul was gifted with a technical ability and brilliance that allowed him to excel in many different fields of work. He was Mason for over 40 years, and belonged to both the Mountain City Masonic Lodge of Lexington, Virginia, and Star in the East Masonic Lodge of Exeter, New Hampshire. However, it was to the land of Rockbridge County, Virginia and his trees that he devoted himself for the last 28 years of his life. He lived to share this love with others. Many of us have memories of him standing on Main Street during the Rockbridge Community Festival, calling out to try one of his amazing pears. He delighted in learning how many people grew to love the fruit, as they now share the pears with their own friends and family.
Over eight decades Paul's humor, generosity and wisdom touched many lives. He was a loving husband and father with a curious mind and a hardworking soul. He will be intensely missed by a large, extended network of family and friends.
We thank all of the extended community that has supported Virginia Gold Orchard over the past 25 years. Paul's love for his customers was perhaps only surpassed by his love for the fruit he grew for them. We also thank the wonderful staff of the Rockbridge Area Hospice who worked so hard to bring comfort to Paul in his last days.
With sincere gratitude and appreciation,
Paul ("P.J.") Estabrook