Mary (Tildahl) Meyers '61: An Unexpected Opportunity to Give

Sara Jacobson

Mary (Tildahl) Meyers ‘61 had always wanted to give something significant to Minnehaha Academy. It never quite seemed that life arranged itself in a way to make that possible, however.

When her children, Christy (Meyers) Waldon ‘87 and Todd Meyers ‘88 were in the throes of college, Mary came into an inheritance from her mother. She and her husband, Dan, agreed to put the money towards their children’s education, but with the understanding that at some point in the future if they were able to come up with another large sum of money it would be a sort of “replacement” for the inheritance money, for Mary to use or give as she wished.

Fast forward roughly two decades and Dan sold his financial planning business.

Just as the money came through, the Meyers family received a call from fellow alum Dan Parten.

“He shared how we as a class of 1961 were coming together to give with this goal of—perhaps—being able to name a classroom,” Mary shares. Both Mary and her husband felt drawn to this vision and Mary decided that this was where she wanted to give.

Each time Mary shares this story, she becomes visibly emotional.

“This now was my opportunity to give,” she says. For the first time in years, it felt as though she could give away something substantial. And she knew exactly where she wanted to give it.

“It was the first thing in my mind,” she comments, when asked why she chose to give to MA. In retrospect she observes that there really was no other option, as far as she was concerned. She had a rich experience at the school with deep relationships and teachers like Ann (Franklin) Kauls who drew things out of her she didn’t know were there.

“I remember thinking...that she must see something in me that I don’t see in myself.”

After graduation, Mary continued to meet yearly with a handful of friends from MA, at times flying across the country for the get-togethers. Once her own children came along, she and her husband sent them to MA as well.

And now it was Mary’s chance to give back. She set aside a significant portion of the money and contacted MA, letting the school know she’d like it to go towards a classroom, the goal set by her graduating class.

I received the blessing of being able to give. I never had that before…to have the joy, to know what that joy was, of giving, was a blessing. It’s worth whatever money you have [and are] able to share. It’s a gift to be able to give.”

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