Paul Schmidt

Profile Updated: May 13, 2019
Paul Schmidt
Paul Schmidt


Paul Schmidt


Paul Schmidt


Yes! Attending Reunion
Residing In: New York, NY USA
Spouse/Partner: Diane Jamison
Occupation: Former Operatic Basso / Lead Operator, Document Processing Services at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, NY NY
Children: No Children but we've had many animal friends:

Current Cat: Inky (an American Bombay)
Current More…Horses: Cool Morning, thoroughbred; Lucy, TN walking horse
Former Cats: Grant, Tulip, Lily, Cheetah, Margaret
Former Dogs: Tasha, Puppy, Kwando

After graduating from Whitehaven in 1969 I spent a year at UT-Martin because I hadn't a clue as to what I wanted to do in life. That experience taught me that I didn't want to spend another three years at Martin even though Liz Haines was there to pal around with, and I was summerily dismissed for a number of indiscretions.

That summer of 1970 I joined the choir at LaBelle Haven Baptist chuch, just down the street from our house on Shofner, and was baptized into the Church. The choir spent a week at Windermere on Lake of the Ozarks where I had a lead role in a new musical by Burl Red called, I believe, "Lightshine". I also gave testimony that led to an offer of a full music scholarship to William Jewell College from Dr. Tom Field, newly-named president of the college in Liberty, MO. I spent the next three years there studying to enter the Music Ministry.

I didn't graduate but I did learn an awful lot about singing and performing and realized that I didn't want to be a Minister of Music either. My voice teacher was Cecilia Ward, a former leading mezzo soprano with the New York City Opera who, like Dr. Field, was the newly-named "Artist in Residence" at Jewell. Cecilia thought I had potential for something other than my avowed career and put the idea of an operatic career in my head, an idea supported by Dr. Wesley Forbis, chairman of the music department and later head of the Southern Baptist Sunday School Music Board. "Doc", who knew I wasn't cut out for Church work, is largely responsible for the publication of the new Southern Baptist hymnal which contains a number of his compositions. He is now deceased, much to my sorrow.

Cecilia and Doc staged two operas for me and Charlene Shepard, a lyric-coloratura soprano and my recital partner: Carlyle Floyd's "Susannah" in which I sang the lead role of circuit-riding preacher Olin Blitch opposite Charlene's Susannah, and Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" in which I sang Count Almaviva opposite Charlene's Susanna. Yes, you read that right. Also at Jewell Charlene and I were privy to the most wonderful fine arts program of any institution in the country, where we heard and met many of the greats of the day up close and personal: Sutherland, Horne, Sills, Caballe, Pavarotti in his first American recital, Milnes, Tebaldi, Tucker, Tozzi, Casadeseus, Serkin, Ashkenazy . . . the list literally goes on and on.

In the summer of 1972 Charlene arranged an audition for me at Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony in Eureka Springs, Ark. where she was studying opera with Dr. Issac van Grove, a venerable composer, repetiteur, conductor and stage director, and I was invited to "The Point" the following year. Due to the generosity of an arts patron and supporter of the program from Midland, TX, I spent the next three summers on full scholarship at the Point with Van casting and coaching me as Colline in "La Boheme", Sarastro in "The Magic Flute", Mephistopheles in "Faust", Figaro in "The Marriage of Figaro", Uberto in "La Serva Padrona" and God in Van's own "Noye's Fludde". Van proved to be invaluable to me as he had known and worked with both Feodor Chaliapin and Ezio Pinza, two of the most celebrated basses of the first half of the 20th century, while Charlene went on to a singing and teaching career of her own.

It was at "The Point" that I worked with several members of the Memphis chapter of IATSE, the stagehand union, who paved the way for my enrolling, despite not finishing my bachelor's degree, in the graduate program in opera at Memphis State, where I studied voice with Ethel Taylor Maxwell, toured with Southern Opera Theater and made my Memphis Opera debut as Baron von Popoff in Lehar's "The Merry Widow" opposite Marguerite Piazza.

After a year at Memphis State I moved to Pittsburgh, PA where a friend of mine from "The Point" was starting a chamber opera company called Pittsburgh Opera Renaissance. This was an ambitious undertaking as everything was done by the artists: sets, costumes, publicity, programs etc. He promised me that he had funding, which he did for the first year, but after that I was left stranded. However, while in Pittsburgh I also performed at the Pennsylvania Opera Festival, most notably as Nick Bottom in Brittan's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and Truffaldino in Richard Strauss's "Ariadne auf Naxos" which led to contracts with Pittsburgh Opera to sing Tom in Verdi's "Un Ballo in Maschera" and Francis Nurse in Robert Ward's "The Crucible", the latter conducted by the composer and starring Mildred Miller, holder of a "Grand Prix du Disc" for her recording of Mahler's "Das Lied von der Erde" with Bruno Walter and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Mildred, the wife of Henry Posvar, then-Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh was, at the time, the doyen of classical vocal music in Western Pennsylvania.

Closing night of "The Crucible" I drove back to Memphis to take over the roll of Dr. Bartolo in an English language production of "The Barber of Seville" with Southern Opera Theater, replacing Donnie Ray Albert who had accepted a contract with the Houston Opera to become the Porgy of the world in Porgy and Bess. (Check out his recording on RCA with Clamma Dale.) I spent the next year and a half back in Memphis touring with Southern Opera as Dr. Bartolo and in the title role of Donizetti's "Don Pasquale" (also in English) and singing comprimario roles with Memphis Opera. It was during rehearsals for Puccini's "Turandot" with Memphis Opera that I met my future wife, Diane.

In 1976 I returned to Pittsburgh, this time with Diane, at Mildred Miller's invitation to work with her in the Gateway to Music program in the public schools. We stayed in Pittsburgh for six years where I studied voice with Mia Novich at Duquesne University, continued to perform with Pittsburgh Opera and smaller regional companies, sang my first Verdi Requiem and Beethoven Ninth Symphony with the Johnstown, PA symphony and won the Metropolitan Opera district auditions twice. In 1978 I was presented in recital by the Pittsburgh Young Concert Artist Society as winner of their annual competition.

It was during rehearsals of "Salome" at Pittsburgh Opera that, perhaps emboldened by my familiarity with world-class artists at Wm. Jewell, I snuck down to the stage on a lunch break to spy upon Arthur Rubenstein as he practiced for that evening's recital. While this was strictly forbidden, Maestro Rubenstein took pity and allowed me to stay, albeit out of his line of sight. Only in later years did I come to understand how privileged I was to have had that experience: to be the only witness of a musical event to which few had been privy during his long career.

In 1980 I did my first AGMA apprenticeship at the Lake George Opera Festival where I placed second in the apprentice vocal competition, performed the straight acting role of Von Mark in "The Student Prince" and covered the role of Olin Blitch in "Susannah" under the direction of Cynthia Auerbach, a stage director at the New York City Opera, and the ever watchful but benevolent eye of Carlisle Floyd, the opera's composer.

That fall I was invited to apprentice at Michigan Opera Theater in Detroit where I sang the Commendatore in "Don Giovanni" and Monterone in "Rigoletto", among others. That winter I appeared in another English language production of "The Barber of Seville" with the Hinsdale Opera outside of Chicago in a cast that included Stephanie Friede, William Sharpe and Richard Croft, all of whom went on to brilliant careers, while I got the rave review for my performance as Don Basilio.

When Cynthia Auerbach was named the artistic director of the Chautauqua Opera in 1981 she invited me to do my second AGMA apprenticeship there, where she cast me as Crespel opposite June Anderson and John Alexander in Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffman". I also reprised the role of Von Mark, this time with Jerry Hadley (now tragically deceased) as the Prince. Cynthia encouraged me to come to New York where she promised to introduce me around, but died shortly after Diane and I arrived in 1982.

I made my NY debut in January of 1983 as Jeronymous in the New York premiere of Carl Nielsen's "Maskerade" with the Bronx Opera, an English language production in which the New York Times called me "an amusing bass". That spring I appeared as Sparafucile in "Rigoletto" with the Regina Opera and then, shortly thereafter, suffered an injury that threatened to end my career just when it appeared to be finally beginning. Due to hypoglycemia I blacked out on my feet, walked into a wall and fell like a tree onto a marble bench, scarring both my forehead and chin and bruising my larynx on its edge.

After six months of voice rest I discovered that my voice wasn't working as it should. So, because she was primarily a technician, I called Ethel Maxwell back in Memphis, explained what had happened and asked if she would work with me to get back into vocal shape. She agreed and that summer I returned to Memphis where I studied with her on a near daily basis for a month, after which time I had regained a semblance of technique and vocal range. Her parting words to me were "You're in pretty good shape but I wouldn't be accepting any engagements to sing Mephistopheles right now if I were you".

So what happened? Not three weeks after returning to New York I got a call from the Regina Opera asking me to sing Mephistopheles in "Faust" which, of course, I did. And I have the video tape to prove it. Vocally it leaves some things to be desired but overall I'm quite happy to have a complete record of it as it afforded me the opportunity to try out in the New York market some of Chaliapin's and Pinza's ideas learned from Van seven years previously at "the Point". In makeup designed by Diane and the beautiful, custom-made red velvet and black satin costume I wore at "the Point", a former leading baritone with the Metropolitan Opera said mine was the most complete characterization of Gounod's Mephistopheles he had ever seen.

School Story:

After "Faust" Diane began pestering Armen Boyajian, the teacher/coach of Paul Plishka and Samuel Ramey, the two reigning American basses at the time, to see if he might take me as a student. He strung us along for months until he finally agreed to hear me, and when he did and discovered that I was temping at Goldman Sachs (and thus could pay his fee) he took me on a weekly basis. I studied with Armen for almost six years, during which time he completely rebuilt my technique from top to bottom and introduced me to many tricks of the trade.

A year or so after beginning my studies with Armen, Diane and I decided to audition in Germany. Armen was skeptical because I hadn't yet completed all of my technical studies but we felt the time was right, wrote the letters and made the arrangements.

I had good luck in Germany because "serious" basses, as I was called, are rare. (The "serious" designation certainly has nothing to do with my general approach to life!) Every agent for whom I auditioned, and there were several, sent me out on at least one house audition. We were based in Munich, staying with the family of a fellow I had met via trading Grateful Dead tapes. (Did I mention that I am also a Deadhead?) The last agent for whom I auditioned and wanted most to impress was Herr Friedrich Pasch in Dussedorf, who sent me out on a series of nine house auditions with the proviso that if I received any offers I was not to accept them.

"Because" he said, "these are only to get you acclimated to the audition experience and to become acquainted with the paperwork. When you are done I am sending you to the "A" houses: Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin. You, my young friend, are going to have a great career."

We traveled the length and breadth of West Germany singing those nine auditions, from Augsburg in Bavaria to Lubeck on the North Sea. I declined offers in Bremen and Heidelberg and returned to Munich, where a telegram was waiting for me from Goldman Sachs, which I had joined as a full-time employee and from which I had taken a leave of absence. The market had crashed (Black Monday, Oct. 19 1987) and they couldn't guarantee my job if I didn't come back immediately.

We agonized over the problem. I was so close to making it but we had run out of money and my allergies were running amok. We knew people who were not auditioning very well because they were living on the trains with their Eurail passes and we didn't want to do that, so in a very emotional call I told Herr Pasch that I was going to have to return to the States. He begged me to stay, assuring me of my future success, but I said that I had to go but could always come back.

Herr Pasch died 8 months later. And it wasn't until very recently that I learned that he was known as a "King maker" and that if he believed in you, you had best believe in him. Had I known that at the time I would have stayed for those pending auditions; I would have liked to have possibly made him proud.

As it was I never did return to Germany. I continued my studies with Armen and to sing with regional opera companies from New Hampshire to Oklahoma, slowly making a name for myself as a singing actor and a Verdi specialist, managing my career as best I could without the benefit of an agent. I worked briefly under the auspices of Lew Wasserman at the Thea Dispeker agency but the one job he procured for me, although sung by seasoned professionals, was the most amateurish production I have ever been associated with: "Un Ballo in Maschera" at the Monadnach Music Festival in Manchester, NH, in which I sang the role of Sam, the lead conspirator. (This is true. Our high school productions of "Oliver" and "Flower Drum Song" were more professional than this "Ballo".) Lew did get me an offer to sing Kaspar in von Weber's "Der Freischutz" on a world tour with the Welsh National Opera, but I declined because the role has a devilishly difficult trinklied (drinking song) with something like 9 high Gs in it, and I had never sung a high G in my life. Armen thought, and I agreed, that because of the trinklied the role was just a bit beyond my abilities. In retrospect, it might have made my career because, other than that one "song", the role is a tour-de-force for a singing actor of my voice type.

Among other things I did a 16 show run of "Sweeney Todd" with the Skylight Opera of Milwaukee and another in Little Rock, singing Judge Turpin in both; a production of "The Ballad of Baby Doe" with Michigan Opera Theater in which I appeared as William Jennings Bryan, a concert version of "Turandot" here in NY in which I sang Timur, another Verdi "Requiem" in Columbus, Ohio, and then got a call from Nick Muni, artistic director of the Tulsa Opera, who said he'd been trying to find me ever since seeing me in "Maskerade" back in '83. He offered me the principal bass role of Fernand in the world premier of the then new critical edition of Verdi's "Le Trouvere", the French version of "Il Trovatore", and der Sprecher (the Speaker) in "Die Zauberflote" with Ransom Wilson, the world famous flautist, making his pit debut as a conductor, both of which I accepted. "Le Trouvere" was recorded and broadcast on NPR. I have video tapes of both productions as well.

(Note: "Le Trouvere" featured Greer Grimsley, a colleague of mine from the Lake George Opera Festival in 1980, as the Comte di Luna and I am delighted that I am going to see him in the spring of 2019 at the Metropolitan Opera as Wotan in both "Das Rheingold" and "Die Walkure", the first two operas in Wagner's "Ring Cycle". I know my way backstage and am really looking forward seeing him again.)

It was somewhere around this time that Armen did something very curious. He called one day and asked if I could come early for a lesson. A scrupulous manager of his appointment book, he had never done anything like this before. I of course agreed and we spent nearly the entire time working on vocalizes. There than came a knock at the door and Armen, as he always did, welcomed the next student in. It was Sam Ramey and his wife whom, after introductions, were ushered into the back room. I assumed the lesson was about over but no, Armen pulled out the score of Boito's "Mefistofele", another tour-de-force for a bass on which we had worked over the years, and launched right into it, going through all the arias (which are quite difficult) and most of the crucial vocal cues. Then the lesson was over and I left without a word being said, other than Amen proclaiming the session "excellent" .

The next week I asked Armen what that was all about, and he said that Sam was scheduled to debut the role in a new production at the Metropolitan Opera, that he was being lazy about learning it and that he wanted to remind Sam that there were other artists out there who could do it just as well as he. When I was able to regain my powers of speech I thanked Armen for the vote of confidence but asked him to please never do anything like that again because I would have loved the opportunity to step into the role should Sam have failed. Which, of course, he didn't.

Sometime in the mid '90s I finally auditioned for both the New York City and Metropolitan Operas. The City Opera stage audition was sung well but I made the mistake of speaking truth to the voice coming from the darkened hall without knowing who's voice it was and thus precluded any chance of immediate engagement. And in my Met audition my distant, randy Memphis past came back to haunt me. I was asked to come back the next year and try again but I knew from having shared the stage with numerous Met artists that unless they come knocking on your door, you may get hired but you won't be singing major roles and I was not interested in being a supporting player.

While I never made it to the Met and City Opera is no more, I did make it to Carnegie Hall, where I appeared in a concert performance of Richard Strauss's "Friedenstag" which, when released on Koch International records, became the first recording of this rarely-performed opera. It is now discontinued and I can't even find my copy! Also in Carnegie I sang the principal bass role of the Papal Legate in the New York premier of Verdi's "Jerusalem", the French version of "Il Lombardi", in a concert version by the New York Grand Opera. This was to prove to be my penultimate performance with only a couple of "Il Trovatore"s at the Schubert Theater in New Haven, CT coming soon after.

With the doors to both City Opera and the Met apparently closed to me and in my mid-forties I took a long, sober look at where I was and what my prospects were and decided that I didn't want to die a pauper. "La Boheme" is a lovely opera but it's a lousy business plan. So I stopped studying, stopped auditioning and stopped performing. And, other than funerals for family and friends, I haven't sung a note in public since.

In many ways the experiences I had in high school -- chorus, Thespians, typing class and the Key Club leadership award among them -- greatly influenced my life choices. Chorus under John Baskin gave me the singing bug; "Flower Drum Song" and "Oliver" under Roseanne Painter gave me the acting bug; the leadership award contributed to the confidence to embrace those bugs and typing class saw me through many a fallow period and into my current occupation as Lead Operator, Interdepartmental Team Member and go-to guy in Document Processing Services at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, the whitest of white shoe law firms, as Diana ("Tink") McAdams Pruett has put it.

Diane and I have been in Manhattan for 36 years now, living in the same tiny, one-bedroom apartment in Washington Heights where my three years of Spanish with Mrs. Hankins have allowed me to eavesdrop (poorly) on the general population. Our parents are now deceased and we have no children; we didn't want to raise any in NYC because the schools are so poor and our future was so uncertain. But we've had a succession of wonderful pets including dogs, cats and birds, and currently stable a gelded thoroughbred former racehorse and a pretty little walking horse mare with a dear friend and soon-to-be neighbor in middle Tennessee.

I'm planning to retire in September of 2019 with a modest pension, at which point I will have put in 22 years at Cravath and will be 68 years old. In March of 2015 we closed on a small house on eight acres in the woods of Hickman County, TN to which we will retire and where I look forward to sitting on the deck with shotgun in hand, telling strangers to get off my land.

Friends and family will always be welcome, however. Just make sure to call first! :>)

Paul's Latest Interactions

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Paul Schmidt posted a message. New comment added.
Sep 27, 2019 at 1:53 PM

Posted on: Sep 26, 2019 at 5:39 PM

Hi Debra,
I just saw the photos you posted and was especially taken by the Mustang Mach 1 (not to mention you in the Wonder Woman costume, but according to company policy I'm not supposed to be creepy). I had a 1968 Mustang Rally Sport that I absolutely loved (check out my pictures) that I had to have scrapped -- turned into a square of scap metal in front of my eyes in Pittsburgh for which I was paid $25.00. Broke my heart but it was the expedient thing to do at the time. I hope yours is still out there somewhere.

Paul Schmidt posted a message.
Sep 24, 2019 at 4:13 PM

Hi Bill and Mary,
It was great to see you at the reunion. Just wanted to tell you that I've signed up for the Amazon donation program. I may prove to be one of their greatest contributors! Coincidently, Diane and I were two parts of a professional quartet at the St. Vincent de Paul church here in Manhattan on 23rd Street. That church, unfortunately, is slated to be torn down. It was a wonderful space to sing in due to it's great acoustics and its front steps were a haven for the homeless, which is a significant reason why the city is tearing it down. I cannot wait to get out of here!

Paul Schmidt posted a message.
Sep 20, 2019 at 5:41 PM

Thanks Annabel. I very much appreciate your note. I was afraid that Diane hadn't seen my card Sorry that we missed you at the reunion. It would be great to see you again.

Paul Schmidt posted a message.
Sep 19, 2019 at 6:44 PM

Hey Tink! Happy Birthday!! Sorry we missed you at the reunion. Don actually made it and told me that he was sorry that you weren't there. He's just as crazy as ever. Check your private messages.

Paul Schmidt posted a message.
Jun 03, 2019 at 4:10 PM

Happy belated Birthday, Eddie. I trust you made the most of it.

Paul Schmidt posted a message. New comment added.
May 14, 2019 at 10:10 AM

Posted on: May 13, 2019 at 6:01 PM

Happy Birthday, Bill. Looking forward to seeing you and meeting Mary in July.

You once commented here that you enjoyed my sense of humor. I may be pushing the envelope here, but here's a little video and song to entertain you on your birthday. (Hope you like Ren and Stimpy!)

Paul Schmidt has a birthday today. New comment added.
Apr 15, 2019 at 9:30 PM

Posted on: Apr 14, 2019 at 3:34 AM

Paul Schmidt posted a message.
Mar 14, 2019 at 4:58 PM

Hi Debbie, did you get the checks I wrote for the reunion back in December? Just want to confirm. Thanks.

Paul Schmidt posted a message.
Jan 02, 2019 at 4:09 PM

Happy belated birthday, David.

Paul Schmidt posted a message. New comment added.
May 17, 2017 at 11:41 AM

Posted on: May 16, 2017 at 4:50 PM

Sorry I missed your birthday, Bill, but I was on "vacation" fighting the armadillos and groundhogs in Hickman county. I hope your day was a good one!

Paul Schmidt posted a message. New comment added.
Apr 15, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Posted on: Apr 14, 2017 at 5:01 PM

Happy Birthday, Debbie, from an old friend who's one day shy of being exactly one year older than you.

Paul Schmidt has a birthday today. New comment added.
Apr 14, 2017 at 4:19 PM

Posted on: Apr 14, 2017 at 3:33 AM

Paul Schmidt posted a message.
Jul 30, 2015 at 5:00 PM


Holy moly my old friend it's so good to hear from you. Living the life in Lyles in a log cabin on seven acres eh? Way cool. There used to be a tiny place in Bon Aqua called the Yellow Duck (or was it in Columbia?) that we would drive to for take-out. You know it had to be good if we'd drive all that way and back with the aroma taunting us from the back seat.

As you can see we are no strangers to Hickman county. Diane was raised in Waverly up in Humphries county and we've spent time nearly every year for the past 38 years at our friend's spread right next door to what is now ours. I will definitely be calling you before our next trip down there, which, if I can swing it, will be in October to prepare the house for winter. (I'm running out of vacation time, you see.)

Thanks for the shout out, and all my best wishes to you and Darlene.

Paul Schmidt posted a message.
Jul 29, 2015 at 6:39 PM

Bill - Thanks for the Birthday greeting. I posted a brief bio update to Terry Perkins' page (which is on my page too I guess) as a reply to his birthday note. Check it out . . . I'm finally coming home!

Paul Schmidt added a comment on Profile.
Jul 29, 2015 at 6:25 PM
Paul Schmidt posted a message. New comment added.
Jul 30, 2015 at 11:53 AM

Posted on: Jul 29, 2015 at 5:48 PM

I'm late as always, Terry, but I thank you heartily for your birthday greeting and hope that all is well with you. And hey, I see I'm all of one day older than you, so a belated happy 64th right back at you.

My excuse: I have the WHS website linked to one of my private email accounts that has fallen out of use and it's only today that I thought to take a look at it and saw your posting.

A really brief update on what's happening in my life: I'm looking to retire in about 18 months after 20 years at the Firm and have bought a house on eight acres in the country about 60 miles SW of Nashville in which to do so. I'll be uploading pictures to my profile soon. It really is out in the boonies about 12 miles from Centerville and 8 miles from the Bucksnort exit on I 40. And because it was formerly part of the property owned by our dear friend who is keeping Cool Morning for us we won't have to move him! Diane and I are really looking forward to getting out of NYC, although she's worried we won't have enough to keep us occupied. Not me . . . my first order of business when I was down there in April was to buy a lawn tractor and cut the lawn and again this month when we both were there for the 4th of July. (Otherwise I've hired someone to cut it throughout the summer).

The 4th of July celebration at Mary's Gravel Bar and Grill (a field bordering a good size creek that flows into the Duck River that is actually a flood plain belonging to another friend of ours) has become a yearly tradition among our circle of friends down there and it has been my honor for the past several years to be responsible for setting off the morters during the fireworks display. Last year they were Black Mambas, as I understand it about the largest commercially available. This year, unfortunately, we got rained out and we'll have to miss the rain date on Labor Day. I'm bummed because we look forward to the party every year.

That's about it. My best wishes to you and yours.


Paul Schmidt has a birthday today.
Apr 14, 2015 at 3:33 AM
Paul Schmidt posted a message.
Oct 15, 2014 at 8:59 PM

Happy belated birthday, Tink. I know it had to be a good one.

Paul Schmidt posted a message.
Jun 03, 2014 at 9:02 PM

Happy birthday old pal. I just found out a friend of mine here at the Firm is retiring next month and moving to Ashville, so I looked it up and further found that our farm is only 350 miles from there. You'll have to come visit us and Cool Morning too. And vice versa!

Paul Schmidt posted a message. New comment added.
Apr 07, 2014 at 8:34 AM

Posted on: Jan 15, 2014 at 7:06 PM

As some of you have heard, my mother, Beverly, passed away on December 28th, 2013. She was four months shy of her 91st birthday and, until recently, had been thriving in assisted living at Cordova Estates on Appling Road, Cordova, TN. She even had a younger boyfriend there! But in late summer of 2013 she suffered a fall and broke her right leg. She was rehabilitating it at the nursing home next door to Cordoba Estates and was just a few days away from being released back to assisted living when she succumbed to a urinary tract infection, the effects from which she never recovered, and six weeks later she passed peacefully under hospice care in the nursing home. Thankfully, her suffering was short.

I had seen her as recently as late October, early November while she was rehabing her leg, and my brother, Bruce, saw her only two weeks before she passed. Following her wishes she was cremated. A memorial service was held for her on January 2, 2014 at St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church, Bartlett TN. Also following her wishes, I sang "Just As I Am", one of her favorite hymns, at the service. How I ever got through it I'll never know . . . my professional training must have kicked in, I guess. A reception was held at the church afterwards, at which about 20-30 of her friends almost to a person got up and told one hysterical story after another about Mom. It was a wonderful way to remember her and to send her to her reward.

Many thanks to those of you who have shared your condolances through this wonderful website. If I have not responded to anyone who sent a message, I deeply apolgize.

Peace and love to everyone in 2014.

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Posted: Jul 30, 2015 at 8:09 PM
The front gate to Thornton Manor, named after our dear departed friend, a former Nashville Police officer who built it in 2002. Up the driveway on the right is a red maple bearing a plaque in his honor, just to the left of the bust of Diane carved by her father, his first attempt at working in marble.
Posted: Aug 06, 2015 at 10:31 PM
Thornton Manor, part of the Last Resort Dude Ranch and Home for Wayward Opera Singers. It's a small three bedroom, two bath sort of barracks-style hand-built affair with a fabulous open kitchen, dining, living room area that encompasses the front third of the house. This pictute was taken lin September 2014. Just look at that sky!
Posted: Apr 14, 2016 at 6:50 PM
The Last Resort Dude Ranch and Home for Wayward Opera Singers. Thornton Manor is on the left. Our friend Rhonda's spread is on the right.
Posted: Jul 30, 2015 at 8:15 PM
The spread from a higher altitude. A large portion of the hay field below Thornton Manor is ours. Good thing I don't have to mow it (although I might like to bush hog it).
Posted: Jul 30, 2015 at 5:25 PM
The two houses of the Last Resort Dude Ranch. Our friend built the A-Frame 20-25 years ago and allowed her sister to build the smaller house beside it eight years ago. Sister died tragically about 18 months ago. We though about buying it but it's just too small. It's now being rented.
Posted: Jul 30, 2015 at 7:49 PM
The two houses from the back. The log cabin is our friend's bedroom. It's well over 100 years old and made of solid American Chestnut.
Posted: Apr 14, 2016 at 6:48 PM
The view looking from the top of the hay field North up the holler of the Last Resort Dude Ranch. This picture was taken well before Sister's house was built. That's Tom, our friend's former boyfriend, with Alex, Paloma and Cool Morning and Home Girl, Rock Dog and Watch Dog (in that order).
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:16 AM
Me and Cool Morning, circa 2008
Posted: Jul 30, 2015 at 8:05 PM
Ride, ride like the wind! Uh, Cool? Can we go please? Hey, how do you make him go? And boy, did I find out: one of Diane's uncles used to race him in Kentucky.
Posted: Jul 30, 2015 at 7:26 PM
Tu Tu always knew when there was a camera pointed in her direction. She died at a young age.