Jan Tishman: A Tribute to A Great Lady

The Art of Fine Living is normally focused on beauty, travel, design, and the arts, but today I wish to share a deeply personal story. This past Sunday, March 19, 2017, Jan Tishman, my second mother and one of the most remarkable women I've ever known, said her goodbyes to this world. Over the past year she had slipped from our lives as she fought dementia with nobility and grace. Her life was so inspiring to those of us who knew and loved her, that our lives will never again feel quite as magical.

Jan's vibrant personality, her ability to transfix an audience with the stories of her travels, the great parties she hosted and attended, the "Golden Age" of New York Society, her Vermont "country summers", and the privileged lifestyle she had been fortunate to live at the epicenter of the real estate world, were always humorous, and never ever dull! But Jan was never just a society wife, rather she was a fierce advocate for children working with the Citizens Committee for Children to create opportunities for under-privileged youth and chairing programs that truly impacted the community. She was a passionate member of the founders committee for the New York Pops, never missing a concert, and was ever the gracious hostess to visiting artists who joined us in the family box at center mezzanine at Carnegie Hall. An avid equestrian, an amateur pilot, a fashion devotee, a woman who could dance the night away, and still host the perfect brunch the following morning.

For the past 30 years I have had the great honor of being her son by marriage and truly enjoyed the thousands of hours we spent together. Whether dining at the best restaurants in New York, attending the opera or ballet at Lincoln Center, shopping Madison and Fifth Avenues, decorating her pre-war apartment in a grand fashion for Christmas (in spite of the Jewish heritage of the family) or simply watching a movie together in the study while dining on Chinese takeout on her Spode Fox Hunt china. Even during the most casual of times there was always an element of charm and style.

Jan Tishman was a beautiful woman who radiated joy and love and an endless passion for life. I learned so much from her. We will never forget you our dear mother. May you find joy in the next world, but please know that your legacy will live on in each of our hearts forever.

No mother ever loved her daughter more than Jan Tishman and her beloved daughter, Leslie. Shown here in a photo for the New York Times featuring their exquisite mid-century modern apartment on Park Avenue. They would remain fierce friends for 59 years.

No mother ever loved her daughter more than Jan Tishman and her beloved daughter, Leslie. Shown here in a photo for the New York Times featuring their exquisite mid-century modern apartment on Park Avenue. They would remain fierce friends for 59 years.

Jan's fascination with Fashion began early! One of my favorite stories Jan shared was her first meeting with Givenchy. While in Spain she wired the couturier and requested a fitting for a gown when she arrived in Paris. As destiny would have it she was in his atelier when the staff rushed to the windows to watch Jackie and John Kennedy passing through the streets of Paris. She recalled a great sense of pride at being an America at that moment in history.

Jan's fascination with Fashion began early! One of my favorite stories Jan shared was her first meeting with Givenchy. While in Spain she wired the couturier and requested a fitting for a gown when she arrived in Paris. As destiny would have it she was in his atelier when the staff rushed to the windows to watch Jackie and John Kennedy passing through the streets of Paris. She recalled a great sense of pride at being an America at that moment in history.

One of my favorite images of Jan, looking elegant and so beautiful aboard the SS United States en route to Africa.

One of my favorite images of Jan, looking elegant and so beautiful aboard the SS United States en route to Africa.

Jan was a fashion plate when party bells rang, but she was also an adventurous sportswoman, playing tennis, flying planes, skiing, and always pursuing her love of all things equestrian. Shown here with her husband of 70 years, Edward Tishman.

Jan was a fashion plate when party bells rang, but she was also an adventurous sportswoman, playing tennis, flying planes, skiing, and always pursuing her love of all things equestrian. Shown here with her husband of 70 years, Edward Tishman.

Even a concussion does not stop the party! Shown here in a humorous moment with her dear friend, Skitch Henderson, conductor of the New York Pops. Both are sporting Tishman hardhats for a company sponsored event.

Even a concussion does not stop the party! Shown here in a humorous moment with her dear friend, Skitch Henderson, conductor of the New York Pops. Both are sporting Tishman hardhats for a company sponsored event.

Jan found her wanderlust early in life and traveled the world from Africa to Europe, Russia, South America, Japan, and most of the United States. Shown here, third from the left, she and Edward are on their way to Europe.

Jan found her wanderlust early in life and traveled the world from Africa to Europe, Russia, South America, Japan, and most of the United States. Shown here, third from the left, she and Edward are on their way to Europe.

A picture that truly says it all! Mother and daughter, a bond that will never be broken.

A picture that truly says it all! Mother and daughter, a bond that will never be broken.

Jeanette "Jan" Napp Tishman, 1928 - 2017, A Phenomenal Woman!

Jeanette "Jan" Napp Tishman, 1928 - 2017, A Phenomenal Woman!