Holly Jahn is proof that once Beaufort gets a hold of you … you must return!
By Lanier Laney
I’ve heard the story over and over in Beaufort of people who grew up here then returned after many, many years away. There’s something about this place, the people, the beauty, the water, that places a spell on all who visit or have lived here.
Holly Healy Jahn moved to Beaufort in her teens when her military parents, Norman and June Healy, retired here. Although she had lived many places, she felt instantly “at home” in Beaufort. She became best friends in middle school and high school with Rosemary and Kevin Cuppia, along with the Dempsey family, the Kilgores, the Sanders, “and so
many sweet people,” says Holly. She and Rosemary were bridesmaids in each other’s weddings.
While in college in Columbia, Holly got a job at a bar and restaurant called Wits End in Five Points. One day, Mike, a liquor salesman, newly assigned to South Carolina, dropped by to show Holly his product line.
“It’s not necessary to come by,” said Holly (who had a boyfriend at the time). “I just call in the order when I need it.”
But persistent Mike insisted on dropping by in person again and again over the months until the day he found out Holly had broken off her relationship with the cheating boyfriend and he finally got a shot to ask her out on a date. They moved in together four days later and have been married now for almost 27 blissful years! Who says whirlwind romances don’t work?!
They left South Carolina soon after meeting for Mike’s new job in Florida, then off to the West Coast, finally settling in Paradise Valley, Arizona, for 20 years where Mike is now executive vice president for Southern Wine and Spirits, covering both Arizona and New Mexico.
Supportive wife Holly raised three beautiful children. Twins Claire and Grace Jahn are 22, fresh out of college, and now working for dad in Arizona. Their son Walter, 26, started out working for dad and now is a manager for Kendall Jackson Winery.
So with children now raised, Holly felt her longings for a return to Beaufort could finally be fulfilled. After renting a house for a month, two years ago, they bought a house with a dock on Baynard Street on The Point.
I asked Holly what was the main thing that drew her back. “Charm, charm, charm, and the absence of people using the horn on their car!” says the vivacious Holly with a laugh. “Plus, I dearly missed all my friends I grew up with.”
Fortunately Mike, a Miami native, fell in love with Beaufort’s charms too but “is confused by the fact that everyone waves to him, even though they don’t know him,” says Holly with a smile.
Now Holly and Mike “commute” between Arizona and Beaufort, with Holly spending at least 10 days of every month here.
Says Holly, “We also like to spend the holidays here and bring the children, holidays seem so much more uncommercial here. There is real faith and the folks seem to see and appreciate the true meaning of the holiday. Having been on the West Coast for 25 years, the superficiality of it all tends to get very old. We both love the history in Beaufort. You just don’t see that as much on the west coast. And you cannot get a good glass of sweet tea anywhere!”
Adds Mike, “We both love the sense of community, kindness of the people, and the fact that Southern hospitality really does exist.”
Their plans for the future? “To escape to Beaufort as often as possible,” says Holly.
“And throw more than our share of dinner parties with great friends and terrific wine!” adds Mike.
So join me in welcoming two great new additions to the Beaufort “social scene,” and be sure and wave at Mike, even if you don’t know him.