Super Senior: Dave Mallory
FAIR HAVEN, Vt. (WCAX) - Eighty-four-year-old Dave Mallory’s history is squarely in the middle of Fair Haven.
“This was the furniture store -- three floors. We stored stuff on the second floor,” Mallory points out as we arrive downtown.
Mallory and his father ran the business. Across the street was another family venture. “‘From cradle to the grave’ my father used to say. Mother would say, ‘You can’t keep saying that!’” Mallory said. Furniture on one side of the street and funerals on the other.
Reporter Joe Carroll: A lot of people think folks who run funeral homes are kind of numb to death.
Dave Mallory: Well, you aren’t if you have a heart.
The funeral home still has the Mallory name, but “Dave’s” has been out of the business since the late ‘70s.
“I lived down at the funeral home and I walked to high school,” Mallory recalled, as our tour continued just across the park to the old high school, where the fire station and town offices are now located. “I’d walk out a window and I’d go down the street and get an ice cream. The teacher wouldn’t even know that I was gone.”
Reporter Joe Carroll: Dave, I’m gathering you’re not a saint.
Dave Mallory: No, no. I’m a long way from it.
Next door was salvation -- his lifetime church. “Welcome to the Congregational Church,” Mallory said. “No, I’m not a saint. I’m a saint for an hour in here.”
One confession -- Mallory has a soft spot for people who are having a tough go. Just a few steps away from his former furniture business is Fair Haven Concerned, the community’s food shelf.
Reporter Joe Carroll: You think this is necessary for the community?
Dave Mallory: Absolutely.
On Tuesdays, Mallory goes to area supermarkets and collects unsold bread and donated food. This day’s haul was meager but the need is great. “The need has skyrocketed. In the last three months we’ve served more households than we did in all of 2020,” said Tracy Yendell, who runs the nonprofit.
Mallory was one of the founders of the food shelf. His mantra -- help others. “Every day. And I try to,” he said. For a guy who says he’s no saint, there’s plenty of heart.
This leads us back to the years working with his dad at the funeral home. Mallory helped his dad with a body removal at a nursing home when he was barely in his teens. “I know all about death. I know all about death,” he said. Death, of course, is part of life, but when four area kids died in one week -- the oldest being six -- Mallory said he had enough of the funeral business. “I fell apart on those four kids.”
Reporter Joe Carroll: So does it question your faith when that happens?
Dave Mallory: It questions why he’d let that happen, not my faith.
A self-described imperfect man who’s trying to make his community better. “I can go to bed at night and feel good,” Mallory said.
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