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.