Super Senior: Bill Schubart

Published: Dec. 5, 2019 at 6:37 PM EST
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At his home in Hinesburg, Bill Schubart has an interesting collection of relatives.

"There's just a lot of family photographs," he said.

There's his great-uncle Alfred Stieglitz, an avant-garde photographer who happened to be married to artist Georgia O'Keefe.

Bill's life began in New York City but his roots are definitely in Vermont. He never knew his dad; he was killed in the Philippines during the war.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Let's say your dad had lived and came back to New York City. You would have a completely different life.

Bill Schubart: Totally.

Bill's mom had a strained relationship with her mother-in-law. So one day she packed her bags and, with Bill in tow, took a train to Vermont. The Green Mountains were where she found a new life and later a new man. She married a local named Emile Couture.

"The upbringing I got in Morrisville, raised in a French-Canadian Catholic family and going to school for eight years in Morrisville, was probably to most wonderful experiences of my life," Bill said.

But there was a "Wonderland" Bill would experience from time to time, going "through the looking-glass" with his grandmother back in New York.

"She lived in an 18-room duplex on Park Avenue, 71st," he said.

She'd take the young William to the Russian Tea Room and the Met. He also got to meet famous people.

"My grandmother was very, very close friends with Ed and Sylvia Sullivan," he said.

Yes, TV icon Ed Sullivan.

"It was completely alien to me and it wasn't happy. I'd be lying in bed at night because I wanted to be home with my friends," Bill said.

After eight years of public school, Bill was sent off to boarding school. His new roommate wanted to know his religion. Bill said Catholic.

"And he said, 'I'm a Jew.' And I said, 'Oh, what's a Jew?' Never heard the term, 13 years old, Schubart, Stieglitz, German-Jewish family," Bill said.

Bill's adult life is everything as interesting as his youth. In the early '70s, he and his half-brother Mike Couture found Philo Records in Charlotte. Bill lived in the converted barn producing music ranging from fiddle to folk.

"We never made any money," he said. "I say that-- there would be a year when we would have two hits and we'd make enough money to pay off last year's debts."

Money came later when he formed a video duplication company called Resolution. If you bought a video from Oprah and others, it was made at Bill's company.

"We were processing $200 million worth of credit cards. We had a call center, huge fulfillment operation," he said.

Resolution at its peak had 200 employees. But after Bill sold it to a private equity firm, the business faded into the past.

Throughout Bill's life, there has been a constant-- a struggle with weight.

"I've weighed everything from 240 to 490," he said. "I actually went into treatment when I hit 490."

His addiction was refined carbohydrates like bread and pasta. The 74-year-old is also an author and he's written about his painful experiences being overweight. It's called "Fat People."

"I needed to," he said. "There was just all this stuff inside me and my own experiences."

Bill now weighs in at 285 and is still writing books and commentaries. A big man with a significant past.