Beverly Fenn Turns 100!

Beverly Fenn achieved a rare feat on Aug. 11, 2019 — the celebration of a full century of life.

A resident of Camphill Ghent in Chatham since it opened in 2012, Beverly is still active and can often be seen perusing the artwork in Camphill Ghent’s gallery, headed outside to sit and enjoy the gardens, or at one of the frequent musical events held there.

Beverly was a professional musician and a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, in addition to being a wife and mother of four children. She was a soprano and pianist and sang with the Robert Shaw Chorale and with the Chautauqua Opera Chorus beginning at 15. In 1928, at the age of eight, she was in the audience when pianist Vladimir Horowitz made his debut at Carnegie Hall.

Beverly grew up in Englewood, New Jersey, but spent summers at her grandparent’s home in Columbia County. In 1946, Beverly and her husband, Albert, moved from Englewood to Claverack, settling on a small, historic parcel called Stone Mill Farm along the Taghkanic Creek. The historic house was built in 1763 and had no indoor plumbing. The “city girl” arrived in Columbia County in late November with the couple’s first two children, ages six months and two years.

“I cooked the first year on a woodstove,” recalls Beverly, who noted her “laundry room” consisted of a wringer washing machine and a clothesline. The family had extensive flower and vegetable gardens, berry bushes and a variety of animals, including goats.

Husband Albert frequently traveled long distances for his job as a carpenter and millwright, and Beverly ran the household often singlehandedly, raising Jack, Chris, Peter and Martha. Active in the community, Beverly served on the original committee to create the Olana State Historic Site and was active with the Greenport Historical Society, Columbia County Mental Health Association, and the Hudson Area Library. She served as executive director of the Hudson YWCA in the 1960s and had a radio talk show on WHUC for many years. Beverly was the founder of the Friends of the First Presbyterian Church in Hudson, charter organizer of the NYS Council on the Arts for Columbia County, and founded the Hudson Valley Choral Society.

Beverly celebrated her 100th birthday at Camphill Ghent with her children, grandchildren and friends. The Camphill Ghent Aurora Dining Hall was filled with people of all ages who came to congratulate Beverly, who met each one with warmth and grace. Instead of presents, she asked for donations in her honor to be given to Camphill Ghent. If you would like to honor Beverly’s 100th birthday with a gift to Camphill Ghent, email [email protected] or call 518-392-2760.