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Overhill Neighbors and Scarsdale Friends Remember Bev Sved

ServiceMemorial Service for Beverley Sved. Photo credit: HL FlisserScarsdale Bowl recipient and committed community volunteer Bev Sved was remembered at a memorial service on Wednesday November 28 at the Scarsdale Woman’s Club on Wednesday November 28.

Former Village Trustee David Buchen was the master of ceremonies and spoke in a meaningful way about Bev’s BuchenMaster of Ceremonies David Buchen. Photo credit HL Flisserlife of service in Scarsdale and her various contributions, such as her role in the development of Christie Place and her longtime work with the Overhill Neighborhood Association who organized the memorial. Buchen read some remarks from Mary Beth Gose and Paul Sved, Bev’s husband for 47 years, thanked Buchen and their Overhill friends for arranging the gathering.

He explained that Bev died suddenly on September 22 from an aortic aneurysm. He said in their 47 years of marriage they “never had a serious disagreement,” and marveled, “how time flies when you’re having fun.”

In addition to giving the following remarks about her friend Bev, baker extraordinaire Evelyn Stock contributed delicious sweets.

Here are Stock’s remarks about Beverley Sved:

My deepest sympathy to Paul, her loving and supportive husband of more than 45 years, to all those who loved Beverley, and to our community for the sudden and unexpected loss of an incredible volunteer, an incredible person, much too soon. It seems impossible that I was speaking about Beverley at the Bowl Dinner less than 10 months ago. You will hear some of what I said then.

I had the pleasure of working with Beverley for nine years on the Scsrsdale Foundation where she became my friend. When I served on the CNC, I submitted her name for her second term as a Village Trustee.

StockEvelyn Stock: Photo credit HL FlisserBut let’s go back. It is 1984. The Sveds are living in Montclair, New Jersey in a lovely house in a lovely community. Only problem—a deadly commute to their jobs at IBM in New York. Only solution—moving to New York—really to Westchester. Beverley’s father had lived in Scarsdale as a child. But it was not family history or the schools but location, location, location which brought the Sveds to Scarsdale. It brought them closer to IBM. And their new home at 26 Overhill Road provided lots of land and sun for Beverley’s gardening. But first IBM made a dream proposal --four years in Paris.

In Scarsdale, children are the usual reason people move here and they become the usual conduit for community involvement. So we should all be grateful to the neighbor who suggested the Sveds join the Overhill Neighborhood Association as soon as they returned from Paris in 1988. The rest is history as Beverley went on to become President of the Overhill Association followed by being chair of SNAP from 1996 to 1998. By this time, she had retired from IBM and had begun what was to be her real career – Scarsdale volunteer.

And what a career it was. I believe that Beverley has been an been an active member –often the leader-- of more organizations than anyone else in Scarsdale. And I think you would agree that I am a good person to make that judgment. The list includes the United Way of Scarsdale/Edgemont, the Westchester County Historical Society, the Citizens Nominating Committee, the Procedure Committee (where she helped facilitate the creation of a website), the Scarsdale School Superintendents Citizens Search Committee, and the Scarsdale Technology Advisory Council. And when her term as Mayor ended, she added the Planning Board, Westchester County Historical Society, TVCC/now Forum, Board of the LWV of Westchester, and the Scarsdale Foundation. In each position, she brought her analytical skills in finance and planning and her fair and thorough approach to problems and issues. Bev had a knack for developing better procedures, leaving each organization improved.PaulSvedPaul Sved: Photo credit HL Flisser

Of course she was smart. She was one of only six women to graduate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, class of 1966 and the only woman to obtain an engineering degree. But her being smart was the real kind of smart—common sense, plus education, analytical skills, and more. I felt more confident of my choice of a financial advisor when I learned she used the same person.

Everywhere she earned the reputation as a dedicated, perceptive, intelligent, calm, consensus builder who created a collaborative and collegial working atmosphere. She was able to balance competing interests to promote the best interests of the community or organization, often reaching out to solicit and understand other points of view. Her goal was the resolution of problems, not attaining personal credit. She was a proven team player, never attempting to micromanage, working well with fellow board members and the Village staff. All of these qualities were to stand her in good stead when she was mayor during the contention that surrounded the Christie Place development.

But we cannot forget the Beverley who made working with her so pleasurable and made her a wonderful friend. She was fun to be with, had a wicked sense of humor, was always able to see the humor in a situation, always had a smile. Unlike many of us, she was always willing to listen and even change her mind.

Indeed, Beverley herself exemplified what you can receive for being a volunteer—knowing and working with people like her. Generally, when you move to the suburbs, your source of friends are your neighbors and the parents of your children’s friends. BUT when you volunteer, you become friends with your fellow volunteers. Ever since the Sveds moved to Scarsdale, it would have been hard to find a volunteer activity that did not include working with and knowing Beverley. And thus finding a new friend.

SvedPhotoWe will miss her incredible involvement in so many organizations and witnessing the pleasure she derived from this involvement. I think back to back to April 26, less than 10 months ago when I thanked Beverley for allowing me to share my experiences working with her and the opportunity to convey my pleasure in her receiving the Scarsdale Bowl --one she so richly deserved. She left an incredible legacy of what it means to be member of community. We are grateful.

Thanks to Michelle Lichtenberg for her reporting.

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