Howard Quimby was born in Newburgh, NY on February 19, 1928. He was the son of the late Samuel J. and Emma Schuman Quimby.
Howard married Phoebe Pellizzari on January 28, 1962.
Howard was a lifelong member of the First Presbyterian Church of Marlboro, a charter member of the Town of Marlboro Volunteer Ambulance Corp., a member of the Hudson Valley Draft Horse Association
Howard was kind and a patient person with a sense of humor. He loved playing pinochle.
Designer and filmmaker Ivan Cash, talks about his documentary ‘Howard’s Farm’. This film is an enduring tribute to an old man and his life’s work, and the honesty and wisdom that he represents. Ivan talks about his personal connection to Howard and his journey back to the place he calls home.
‘Howard’s Farm’ is the gentle portrait of an 86-year old man who’s still active on his family’s farm. Cancer, fractured vertebrae, old hips—nothing has stopped Howard Quimby from tending his farm each day.
“I remember being on a meditation retreat when I had this idea of going to ‘Howard’s Farm’ and doing a documentary. The farm is in Marlboro, N.Y, just down the road from where I grew up as a kid. ‘Howard’s Farm’ has always been a place that we would go to as a family. We would go down there just about every Sunday for bagels and cream cheese and to just have a picnic. Looking back now, it was an incredibly important part of my childhood.”
“At a certain age during my childhood, I wanted to grow up and be a farmer just like him. As a kid I would go there and help out doing things like picking berries for the farm. Howard has this simplicity in the way he sees the world, which I think is beautiful. He is just one of those straight shooting sort of guys, where he does his own thing and the world just moves around him!”
“The farm is so beautiful and historic that people come from all over to visit and walk around. Howard is getting pretty old these days and I wanted to do something to document the farm’s story before it’s too late. I came into this film not knowing what the future held for the farm, as there have been a lot of developments going on in the town of late. The woods where I once played as a kid have all been cleared for developed. It’s a bit sad to think of things changing so rapidly.”
“What I got from the process of just shooting this film, was an entirely different narrative to the one I was expecting.”
“Howard is 86 years old and has four grown up daughters, none of whom are committing to taking over the farm, so the future for the farm is very unclear. He has spent seven decades on this farm tending to it every single day. So what surprised me most, was that he is not attached to what the farm needs to be after he passes. He seems at peace with the future of things, which I thought was a very Zen-like insight.”
“He is such a smart and wise man, it was just a pleasure to be around him. I think that’s one of the perks of doing documentaries like ‘Howard’s Farm’. Regardless of the outcome, you get to be involved in another person’s life.”
“When I first started filming ‘Howard’s Farm’, I thought it was going to be far more dramatic with this tension between what the farm is now, and what the developers want it to be in the future. What I got from the process of just shooting this film, was an entirely different narrative to the one I was expecting.”
“A lot of people have commented on how they enjoy seeing my connection with ‘Howard’s Farm’ through the VHS footage of me as a kid. At the time of shooting the film, I had no idea whether we could even find this footage, so there was no preconceived sense of how it would all work as a narrative.”
“Thankfully my mom helped me out, putting hours and hours into going through all of our VHS tapes looking for this particular footage. It didn’t look like we would ever find the footage, until pretty late in the game when I found it one of the very last VHS tapes we had.”
“That’s what I love about filmmaking – the unknowns. It’s really like an act of faith in someways. You have to let go and trust in the journey and then everything works out the way it should. I think finding this one bit of childhood footage on one of the very last tapes, is an example of not knowing what this film would be. You just had to let it reveal itself.”
“My team on this documentary included Brian Frank (brianfrank.me), who is my go-to DP. We shot this whole documentary on my Canon 7D and Brian’s 5D Mark II. I take pride in the fact that this was shot on such basic consumer cameras, because people are always surprised by the quality of footage.”
“I insisted that we wake up at 5am each morning and head straight to the farm. We did this for three days shooting for about 3-4 hours each morning. Then we would go back around sundown, and make sure we were making the most of ‘golden hour’. We didn’t use anything particularly special on this shoot other than a slider. So it was pretty basic stuff.”
“One thing that I was struck by while shooting this film, was Howard’s historical knowledge of the farm. His level of detail was simply incredible. He knew the year and the people and the context in every detail of the farm and its buildings. In fact, he was like a walking history book. It was great to pick up on all of this detail while we were shooting. Sadly we couldn’t include much of that in the edit, because it was going off in so many different directions. I was super impressed by the breadth of his knowledge.”
“We plan to do an informal screening of the film in my hometown of Marlboro, NY on November 25th. Howard and his family will be there and I think it will become a real community event for everyone in the district. I certainly didn’t plan on it working out like this, but it’s sweet that it will become an enduring legacy to Howard and his family.”