Beverly Lipsett Viemeister died in her home on Monday, Feb. 21, 2005 after a lengthy illness. She was 78.
Born in Manhassat, N.Y., she was attending high school there when a young professional, Read Viemeister, spotted her near a Long Island railroad station. He was instantly smitten. So much so, that he ultimately followed her to Yellow Springs, Ohio where she had enrolled at Antioch College. Read started what was to become a successful design business in Yellow Springs, and they were married in 1946.
Although she dropped out of Antioch to have a family, Bev went back to school some 20 years later. She earned a BA in secondary education at Antioch in 1965 and a master’s degree in social work from Ohio State in 1968. She became a licensed social worker and subsequently held a number of supervisory positions at children’s services and mental health agencies in Montgomery and Greene Counties and in New York City.
For almost 10 years, before her retirement, Bev owned and operated Kings Yard Goods, an upscale fabric shop in downtown Yellow Springs. It was her chance to indulge her love of lush colors and beautiful patterns.
Bev gave tirelessly and generously to improve the quality of life in the village. She worked with the League of Women Voters in the early 1950s to turn the Village garbage dump into the Village pool. She was active in the Community Children’s Center, United Way, Business Organization of Yellow Springs (BOYS), Glen Helen Association, and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, among others. She was a hard-working and dedicated supporter of the Greene County Democratic Party.
In 2001, Bev received the well-deserved Arthur Morgan Award for community service from the Antioch Alumni Association. The award said of her, “you continually and willingly stepped forward to provide dynamic leadership to make your community a better place.” Antioch College was a major beneficiary of Bev’s hard work and generous contributions. She served on the Alumni Board from 1961 to 1964 and was elected to the college’s Board of Trustees in 1987.
She donated significantly to the college in both large and small ways. Always of a practical turn of mind, she provided funds for the new signs that now direct visitors around the campus. And for the thousands of people who attend events at the Antioch Inn, she provided the wherewithal to build the new restrooms — known forever after by a grateful public, as the Beverly Viemeister Memorial Toilets. Most recently, Bev served as chair of the board of the Glen Helen Ecology Institute, a position she reluctantly resigned for health reasons.
Bev had legions of friends and for good reason. Her hospitality was legendary and, to the end, those who knew her — and almost everyone did — streamed through her comfortable living room and felt warmed by her glowing smile and welcoming words.
She is survived by her four children, Tucker, Kris, Heidi and Roslyn Viemeister, six grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and her beloved friend, Gordon Cowperthwaite.
She asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Yellow Springs, Ohio Community Foundation. A memorial service will be held at a time and place to be announced.