mr. west chester has died

dick yoder

 

How do you write about a man that everyone described as amazing,  kind , giving and generous just for starters?

Suffice it to say that it was really difficult and so wonderful all at the same time to dig into the life of the amazing Dick Yoder, former Mayor of West Chester and institution at West Chester University who passed away a few days ago.

To take this journey, I was guided not only by my editor Lance at Vista.Today but by many present and former West Chester notables like current Mayor Carolyn Comitta (and Tom Comitta!) and former Mayor Tom Chambers and Chairman of the Chester County GOP Val DiGiorgio,, Gneneral Manager Bill Mason of WCHE 1520 AM, and former West Chester Borough Manager Ernie McNeely.

What a guy Dick Yoder was!  I wish I had met him.  I hope my words do him justice. I am only featuring an excerpt of my article here – please visit Vista.Today to read it in its entirety.

Former West Chester Mayor Dick Yoder Dies at 79

by Carla J. Zambelli

Richard “Dick” Yoder, a native West Chester son and two-term Mayor of West Chester,  passed away last Sunday, May 1. He was 79 years old.

….Yoder ran for West Chester Mayor in 2001 and again in 2005. He was elected both times. After reaching the eight-year term limit, Yoder he was succeeded by Carolyn Comitta in 2010.

Mayor Comitta, who served on Borough Council during Yoder’s tenure as mayor, credited Yoder as her inspiration to seek higher public office.

“When I was thinking of running for mayor I met with him regularly at Gramm’s Kitchen. We would have lunch and I would ask what it was like to be mayor; what makes a good mayor. He was always generous with his time,” Comitta said.  “After I was elected, I continued to have lunch with him regularly. I continued to learn.”

…..Former West Chester Mayor Tom Chambers issued a brief statement about the loss of his dear friend Dick Yoder:

“Dick and I were both born and raised in West Chester and I have known his family practically all my life. We were personal friends. We were also fellow former members of the U.S. Marine Corps……I have lost a good friend and comrade. My condolences and heartfelt sympathy go out to his wife, Jean, and his great family. It was my privilege to have known him and I am grateful that he counted me as one of his many good friends.”

Ernie McNeely, Borough Manager during most of Yoder’s tenure and current Township Manager of Lower Merion, described Yoder as a true gentleman.

“Dick Yoder was a dedicated public servant. He transcended any political label as Mayor of West Chester and had broad support from all parts of the community,” said Val DiGiorgio, chairman of the Republican Party of Chester County, echoing McNeely’s comments…..WCHE General Manager Bill Mason described Dick Yoder as Mr. West Chester.  “It was literally god, country, family, and West Chester,” Mason said. “To meet him was to become a friend. He was beloved by everyone he came in contact with.”

 

Also check out this video tribute done in 2015 when he received Citizen of the Year from The Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce:

Citizen of the Year-Yoder from The Media Message on Vimeo.

saying good-bye to a brandywine valley legend: frolic weymouth has died

Frolic Weymouth Courtesy of Brandywine Conservancy

Frolic Weymouth Courtesy of Brandywine Conservancy/ Fig®

 

Today I was asked by VISTA.Today to write another piece. (I had written one about Loch Aerie last week at their request) Today I was asked to write about the great loss to Chester County over the weekend: the death of Frolic Weymouth.

The Way Back

The Way Back

August Frolic Weymouth

August

Mr. Weymouth is a legend. A giant and pioneer in land conservation and environmental consciousness along with being an amazing artist and mighty fine sportsman. Writing about someone so fine a human being was humbling and daunting at the same time.  What a legacy he leaves.

Friends of mine who knew or met him have been posting photos and memories. I especially love the carriaging photos.

Below is an excerpt of my article. Please visit VISTA.Today and read the entire piece. Frolic Weymouth was amazing. I only wish I had ever had the opportunity to speak with him. Last time I saw him anywhere was May 2012 at the East Goshen Farmers Market. Sporting a beard and wearing a farm shirt with khakis and suspenders, he strolled through the market checking out what was going on.

VISTA.Today: George Alexis “Frolic” Weymouth, Artist and Visionary Conservationist, Dies at 79

George Alexis Weymouth, known as “Frolic” passed away yesterday April 24, 2016.  He would have been 80 years old in June….

Jeffrey M. Nielsen, Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the Brandywine Conservancy described Mr. Weymouth as “an inspirational and visionary leader.”  According to Mr. Nielsen, Mr. Weymouth was known to all as a gentleman with a divine sense of humor and penchant for fun (Mr. Weymouth once served scrapple with chutney on a silver tray). It never mattered who Frolic entertained, he was always himself, said Mr. Nielsen.

From the Queen of England to the man serving French fries at Jimmy John’s, Mr. Weymouth had a genuine love and respect for the people around him and those he met.

To those who knew Frolic Weymouth, that showed his heart: that life should be lived with purpose, but also fun. A family friend described him as a very private yet caring man who was simply magnificent; that the mold has been broken with his passing.

Jeffrey Nielsen also noted how Frolic Weymouth leaves such a rich and layered legacy of art, land stewardship, and environmental passion. Mr. Weymouth’s legacy will live on under the stewardship of the Brandywine Conservancy.

 

Big Bend Carriage Shed By George Weymouth

More tributes to Frolic Weymouth can be found:

Beloved ‘environmental icon’ is mourned

My favorite thing I have read today about Frolic Weymouth was in Delaware Online. It kind of summed up a lot of what the people I spoke with today for my article told me of his personality and how humble and grateful for his life and those in it he was:

When Weymouth constructed a chapel on his property, he inscribed the following words: “This chapel was built to thank God for a wonderful life filled with fun, humor, work, sport and beauty. A close loving family; loyal and unique friends, and a fabulous son, Mac.” G.A.W. 1995

Each time he talked to his son, he would remind him to “look for something beautiful every day.”

Frolic Wymouth photo courtesy of Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art

Frolic Wymouth photo courtesy of Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art

grande dame has hope for future

DSC_3735

In a matter of minutes, less than half an hour, Loch Aerie had a new owner.  CZ Patel of New Jersey.  I was standing there when he said in a soft spoken voice that he was interested in converting Loch Aerie to a hotel.

That is welcome news to all who were worried about her facing a wrecking ball.

New Loch Aerie owner CZ Patel speaks with reporters after winning auction

New Loch Aerie owner CZ Patel speaks with reporters after winning auction

 

The room was packed with residents, bidders, reporters, and even folks from other historic commission members from other Chester County municipalities. I am not sure if anyone from East Whiteland Historical Commission were present, although one member was quoted in Kristin Holme’ follow up article.

DSC_3761

Here is the link to Kristin’s Inquire article and my byline courtesy of VISTA.Today. I was really honored the VISTA.Today editor reached out to me.  I have poured my heart and soul into covering Loch Aerie the past few years.

I look forward to when I can cover Loch Aerie in her next life as a hotel.

Updated: APRIL 22, 2016 — 1:08 AM EDT
by Kristin E. Holmes, Staff Writer

 

Update: The Grande Dame of Lancaster Pike Loch Aerie Has a New Owner

By Carla Zambelli

 

Here is a LINK to auction photos I took yesterday.