Tymeson honors late husband through gift to Chautauqua


Mary Tymeson became a member of the Eleanor B. Daugherty Society after she and her daughters made a planned gift in honor of her late husband, Gale E. Tymeson. Photo by Megan Tan.

Sarah Gelfand | Staff Writer

When Mary Tymeson sat down and started making her estate plans this year, she thought of Chautauqua.

On what would have been the 83rd birthday of Gale Tymeson, her late husband, Mary asked her two daughters — Carol Warmuth and Martha Tymeson — if she could make the Chautauqua Foundation the beneficiary of their family’s variable annuity.

“They said, ‘Why don’t you name (the gift) the Gale E. Tymeson Memorial Fund?’” Mary said.

So she did, and by creating a fund in the name of her late husband, Mary became a member of the Eleanor B. Daugherty Society.

“The girls just said, ‘Oh this is wonderful; Dad would have loved this,’” Mary said. “When they come here, they see the places they went with him and what he did here; he loved the programming and never missed the Hall of Philosophy lectures.”

The Tymesons first learned of Chautauqua from a parishioner at the United Church of Christ in Salamanca, N.Y., where Gale was a pastor in the 1960s.

“We just loved it,” Mary said. “It provided everything for our family.”

The family continued to return to Chautauqua, and thanks to Gale’s service with the United Church of Christ; he and Mary both served on the board of the UCC Society at Chautauqua. They stayed — and Mary often still does — at the UCC’s Mayflower House down the street from the Amphitheater.

Mary’s daughters, Martha and Carol, said their connection to Chautauqua is particularly entrenched in their memories of their father and their many seasons in the Mayflower House.

“If I had to select one snapshot of my father and Chautauqua, it would always be skipping with my sister on to the little wooden bridge behind the Amphitheater, with the happy sounds of the Chautauqua Belle’s foghorn on the lake, the Miller Bell Tower tolling in the distance,” Martha said. “Looking down to the small park below to find my father, in his inevitable long pants and plaid sport shirt, sitting in a lawn chair in front of the bubbling lion fountain, carefully underlining a passage in whatever book he was studying that day. He would look up to smile and wave at us as we called, ‘Supper’s ready!’ Then we would run down to him, and hand in hand, walk up the hill to the Mayflower’s kitchen to say grace.”

Mary now lives in Miamisburg, Ohio. Once a teacher with Pittsburgh Public Schools, as well as a professional singer, she now sings with the Westminster Presbyterian Church choir and the Bach Society in Dayton, Ohio.

At Chautauqua, Mary, an alto, sings seven days a week with the Motet Choir. When she is not in the Amphitheater’s choir loft, Mary is at the morning or afternoon lectures or working with the UCC Society. She returns to Chautauqua every season, visited by her two daughters and six grandchildren.

Mary and her family said making a gift to Chautauqua is only appropriate, given Gale’s love of the Institution and their shared time here.

“It’s important to maintain a legacy for my family,” Mary said. “My grandchildren enjoy coming here now; my daughters still love to come here. It’s having Chautauqua maintained, for my family and other families, and improved.”

For information on how you can include Chautauqua in your estate plans and become a member of the Eleanor B. Daugherty Society, please contact Karen Blozie, director of gift planning, at 716-357-6244 or kblozie@ciweb.org.