Story by Sara Paul
At 82 years old, Marion “Mickey” Shuback is at home in very few places: his own Florida, NY home, his family-owned farm, and his town. A Warwick Councilman for almost 20 years, Shuback was born and raised on Mount Eve Rd., just 2,000 feet from his current residence.
With decades of a long, busy life and no plans to bask in beachside retirement, Mickey contently states, “I’m just used to hanging around here.”
A farmer since the age of six, Mickey bought Shuback Farms with his twin brother, Bernard “Bunny,” in 1960. The two acquired five acres for $1,500 back then.
The hard-working Warwickian of Polish descent proudly passes on the retellings of the day of his birth on Feb. 11, 1936. Mickey is one of 14 siblings.
“We weren’t born in a hospital as was mostly the case in those days…it all happened right in the home,” tells Mickey, whom his delivery doctor named “Mickey Mouse.” His twin was named “Bugs Bunny.”
Mickey lost two brothers to war. Albert was killed in the Philippines in 1945 and Leon perished in Korea in 1950.
Mickey and Bunny farmed only onions for many years before moving to harvesting lettuce until 1969. With common rural setbacks like floods and fires, the steadfast and intrepid brothers explored farming sod and pumpkins, the two staples of their land still today. Mickey was the recipient of the State of New York’s Outstanding Young Farmer.
With a full plate of community obligations and farming seemingly plowin’ along, Mickey turned over the business to two of his sons in 1997.
His scrolls of community involvement include his work as a Florida Lions Club member and former president since 1974. Under his leadership, the Club built a Little League field outside the Village of Florida and Mickey earned the Lion’s Distinguished Service Award in 2009.
Mickey has been President of the State Vegetable Growers. He served 10 years on the Florida School Board, five and a half years as president and three years as vice president; and acted as Fire Commissioner of the Florida Fire District from 1990 to 2010, with 12 years as chairman. He was also on the Warwick Board of Appeals for 14 years, the Orange County Extension Board of Directors for six years, the Farmer’s Credit Farm Services for eight years, and the Orange County Vegetable Growers Board for almost 30 years.
As a Town Councilman since 2001, Shuback oversees the Department of Public Works and Dial-A-Bus. His office is challenged with a growing Town population and not enough resources.
“Things take more time than people think, as there are only so many hours in a day for the highway crews to work,” said the Councilman, emphasizing that there are 220 miles of roadway in the Town of Warwick.
In all of his interactions, professional, political, and personal, Shuback confides that for him, an individual’s most admirable quality is to respect others’ opinions.
“I don’t always agree with everything that is happening, but everyone needs to learn to compromise,” he states.
With a devoted family by his side, Mickey is grateful for his wife, Helen, and a well-accomplished, loving family.
“When you have a large family, you can’t misbehave,” he smiles sternly, adding that, “We have never disagreed in front of the kids.”
Mickey married Helen in 1958 and the couple built their red brick home in the mid-1960s. They spent $26,000 to erect the sturdy structure, where they raised five children (one son has passed away), and now two grandchildren.
Blissfully married for 60 years, the Shubacks happily celebrated their 50th Anniversary in 2008 on a whirlwind cruise; they were joined by 100 friends and family members. The Shubacks are also loyal pinochle enthusiasts, playing with friends several times a week.
Pondering life’s many blessings, Mickey declares, “The most important thing is our health.”