OBLHS Board of Directors
Our BOARD OF DIRECTORS meets once a year to report on our status and progress, discuss ongoing projects, set our agenda and mission for the coming year, decide on awards, and welcome our new board members!
Nicole is a native of Rochester, NY and works as a Physician Assistant working with cancer patients. Ever since she was little, she has loved the outdoors and the ocean. She is an avid collector of shells & minerals and has a fascination with Cetaceans (whales). Her first real “lighthouse” experience was a trip to Maine and since then, she’s been hooked, fascinated by their structure, unique qualities and history. As a board member, Nicole enjoys helping the OBLHS educate the public and sharing awareness about the importance of lighthouse preservation. She is also a passionate board member of Riley’s Army, www.rileysarmy.com, a support group that helps children with cancer and their families, as she is a survivor of childhood cancer.
ROBERT (Bob) DaVIA
“Bob,” a native of Rochester, New York, now calls Winterville, North Carolina home, and serves as the Treasurer of OBLHS. A veteran of the US Navy, he spent nine years working in Emergency Communications (9-1-1) and nearly ten years as a volunteer fireman. These experiences taught him the importance of responsibility, communication, and community involvement. After earning an Associates Degree in Business Management, he now works in the accounting department of a North Carolina Non Profit organization. His interest in lighthouses evolved into his creating and maintaining a lighthouse website, seathelights.com, where he displays and sells photographs and postcards of lighthouses he has visited as well as of the U.S. Life Saving Service.
A native of New Jersey, John moved to North Carolina in 1977 to take a position as Exhibit Designer and Curator at the North Carolina Museum of History. Some years ago, John developed a love for the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and found that even though many beautiful and informative books existed, the most photographed, visited, and recognized lighthouse in America had never been the subject of a complete and accurate history--and so, John determined that that would be his mission. John retired from the U.S. EPA in December 2017 and lives in Salvo with his wife, Aïda, a family law attorney, who helps with his lighthouse research and shares his love of the Outer Banks and lighthouses. John & Aida also run the Sunrise Over Salvo airbnb in their home.
Gayle is a native of Brookville, Ohio but has lived in Wilmington, NC, with her wife, Rebecca Taylor, for over 30 years. She is a retired school librarian who loves to spend some of her leisure time reading and using her computer. One of her other passions is her four cats. She is a life member of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Gayle is an avid pharophile. Almost every vacation is planned around which new lighthouses she will visit. She has visited lighthouses in all corners of the U.S., but visiting the North Carolina lighthouses is still her favorite vacation destination. Her other interests include collecting lighthouses as well as books about lighthouses.
& Membership Director
Judy is retired from the Virginia Department of Health and divides her time between Virginia and the Outer Banks. Her hobbies include knitting, crocheting and scrapbooking. She is also active in her church and community and enjoys camping, walking on the beach and volunteering at the Outer Banks History Center. A lighthouse lover for many years, she attended her first Keepers’ Weekend in 1999 as a birthday gift from her late husband, Leslie. She immediately joined OBLHS and now changes other plans when necessary to attend a lighthouse function. Her daughter, Kelly, is also a board member and attends the events with her.
Bett has served on the board of OBLHS since 1999, both as special events coordinator and as president from 2004–2014. In 2020 she again accepted the position of Board president. Originally from Durham, NC, she has resided in Raleigh since 1970. She taught guitar at NC State University for 29 years and since 1979 has maintained a private studio for teaching guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, composition, keyboard and performance. She also writes, records and performs original music. One song about the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (If a Lighthouse Could Speak) led her to join OBLHS. Sharing the history of all of NC’s towers through stories and songs has become a passion and has taken Bett across the country.
Co-Founder & Secretary
Cheryl is co-founder and former President of OBLHS. She has also been the editor of the society’s award-winning newsletter, Lighthouse News, for over 20 years. A native North Caro-linian and former teacher, Cheryl has authored several highly-acclaimed books: Lighthouse Families; Moving Hatteras: Relocating the Cape Hatteras Light Station to Safety; and North Carolina Lighthouses: Stories of History and Hope. Cheryl is also the editor of two books commemorating keepers' descendants': Cape Hatteras Keepers: Oral and Family Histories (2001) and Bodie Island Keepers: Oral and Family Histories (2013), both co-written with certified genealogist Sandra MacLean Clunies. She is the recipient of the coveted “Keeper of the Light” award from the American Lighthouse Foundation. She and her husband, Bruce Roberts, live in Morehead City, NC.
Bruce is a co-founder of OBLHS. A former Director of Photography at Southern Living magazine, Bruce was also a member of the legendary 1960s staff of The Charlotte Observer, which pioneered the use of the 35mm camera and natural light for newspaper photography. For over twenty years, lighthouses have become his favorite subject. His renowned lighthouse photography has appeared in hundreds of books and magazines. “Bruce Roberts has earned the right to be acknowledged as one of our era’s most important photojournalists, and although he seldom displays them, he has a room full of awards to prove it,” says Ray Jones. He is a recipient of the “Keeper of the Light” award from the American Lighthouse Foundation for his preservation work with OBLHS.
Kelly’s interest in lighthouses increased when the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was moved. She found the stories of the lights and keepers interesting and began attending the OBLHS Keepers Weekends with her mom Judy after her dad passed away. Kelly was quickly accepted into the group and has become an integral volunteer at each event. Kelly lives in Long Island, Virginia with her husband of more than 30 years and her son. She works for the Virginia Department of Health as the Food Safety Consultant for the City of Danville, Counties of Brunswick, Halifax, Mecklinburg and Pittsylvania. Her interests include gardening and canning produce from her garden, cooking for her family and raising farm animals including chickens, ducks, guinea fowl and goats.
Doug Stover retired in 2013 from the National Park Service after 32 years. For the last 13 of those he served as Cultural Resources Manager & Historian at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Among his key projects there was the renovation of the Bodie Island Lighthouse.
Before coming to the Outer Banks Doug served at the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park, National Capital Parks-East, George Washington Memorial Parkway, and Acadia National Park. He also served as White House Liaison & Site Manager including work with the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C. preserving waterlilies. Doug has authored two books; Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and Outer Banks Scenic Byway as well as several Historic Resource Studies. After retirement Doug began as a consultant with the UN World Heritage Sites. Doug and his family make their home in Nags Head, NC.
AIDA DOSS HAVEL
Aida is married to John Havel, and has been his research assistant, editor, investigator, and organizer as he delves into lighthouse history, preservation, and restoration. The people and the stories of lives impacted by lighthouses are particularly interesting to her. In her professional life, Aida practices and teaches collaborative law, a non-adversarial and peaceful way of resolving disputes. After she and John moved from Raleigh to Hatteras Island to be closer to NC’s lighthouses, Aida became involved in various civic, political, and non-profit groups on the Outer Banks, as well as hosting an Airbnb with John. She looks forward to promoting an appreciation of all of NC’s lighthouses.
James has been involved with the Chicamacom-ico Life-Saving Station Historic Site & Museum for 21 years and Site Manager for 10 years, until 2015. His favorite parts of that ‘labor of love’ was talking about and learning about the incredible history. With a bachelor’s from Duke and a M.Ed. from LSU, his previous professional experiences were 24 years teaching North Carolina history and authoring a state-adopted textbook on NC Studies. James has a combined 13 years of historic interpretation at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the Wright Brothers National Memorial and as Lead Historic Interpreter at Roanoke Island Festival Park; a writer, published author and public speaker. He says those jobs “have all been to prepare me for this exact position that is, being Keeper James and spreading the word about this incredible history!” The best thing about his dramatic stories is that they are all true. Link to James' writings: www.keeperjames.com/james---freelance-writer.html