The Montrose Area Adult School is initiating an annual recognition of the contributions local women have made to the community.
During Women’s History Month, a luncheon is planned at the Inn at Montrose on Saturday, March 19, at which four women will be honored who have inspired and enriched the lives of people in the Montrose area for many years. Tickets for the event are available at the library, the Butternut Gallery, the Butler’s Pantry or by calling 278-2006.
Rodrica Tilley and Jennie Bowen both graduated from Montrose High
School; Betty Smith and May Belle Golis came to Montrose early in their professional careers both working in public schools.
All four are explemary role models of dedicated community members who have found quite separate ways to enhance the quality of life for their family and friends and the greater Montrose community.
Bowen studied nursing at the hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and married Bud, her high school classmate in 1947. After his graduation from veterinary school they moved to Nicholson for several years until being invited by Amos Hollister to
join his practice in Montrose. She ran the office while raising five children, Steve, Ann, Lisa, Mary and Jim. When they went off to college she worked full time for 18 years while caring for Bud who was then wheelchair bound due to a battle with Multiple Sclerosis.
She belonged to the Gradale Club, Junior Women, volunteered with the Red Cross,was a member of its Board of Directors, regularly enrolled in college courses and traveled extensively. She is the proud grandmother of 10 grandchildren, seven of whom were Rotary Exchange students, as were her twins Ann and Lisa. She also has four great-grandchildren. She is a member of the borough planning commission, volunteers at the library and is a member of the Vestry of St. Paul’s church. Her strength of character was apparent throughout her adulthood in Montrose. Intelligent and loving, inventive and helpful, she is a living witness of caring and compassionate service to her family and community.
Golis is known all over northeast Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York for her beautiful voice, her conducting and her high expectations for performance as a music educator. Whether taking piano lessons, voice lessons, theory class, instrumental lessons or working in small group ensembles, community or church choirs, students have benefitted from her teaching. After high school graduation, Golis took voice lessons at the Warren Conservatory of Music and also took private lessons on violin and viola. She enrolled in Mansfield College and formed and sang in a madrigal group and was the soprano soloist with the college community orchestra and chorus. While a senior, Maurice Taylor and Montrose school superintendent Pat O’Brien went to Mansfield for a job interview, and she came to Montrose in 1949 to begin her teaching career.
Three years later she married George Golis and had four daughters, Marjorie, Susan, Diana and Rosemary and has two grandsons, Mackenzie and Cody Franssen. She was the choir director at the Montrose Presbyterian Church and directed the Montrose Choral Society, helped establish the Ladies Auxillary of the V.F.W. and continues to be involved in the Binghamton Symphony and Choral Society.
As a child, Rodrica Tilley knew she would become an artist. She developed her talent as she grew and worked closely with her Montrose High School art teacher Peter Lehman who introduced her to Philadelphia’s Moore College, the oldest women’s college of art and design. In 1974 Rodrica married Michael Poster and moved back to Montrose where she was involved in many art projects, worked for national magazines and began painting seriously in the studio of her home. She started the Artist Weekend Event on Columbus Day weekend with the help of many local artists including Linda Truman, Betty Bryden, Tom Capouse, Chris Lathrop and Rita Eddy; this event has become one of the most important Susquehanna County shows each autumn.
Tilley also initiated a woman’s book club still operating each month, ran an art camp and was one of the founding members of the Hill Country Artists. She has recently undertaken the “Fifty State Plein-Air Painting Project” planning to make a pastel paintings in all 50 states. Her daughter Zoe will be married at her parent’s home this June afterwhich she and her husband are relocating to Brattleboro, Vt.
Smith is the heart and soul of the Susquehanna County Historical Society and her home is a showcase for her collection of furniture and artifacts from the area. When she first moved to the area, she worked at the Lehman campus of Penn State and then at the Elk Lake School as secretary to the guidance department. She has a daughter Hannah and a 4-year-old grandson, Charlie.
She became a member of the Library Board of Directors and was encouraged by Eleanor McKeage and Louis Rils that she should apply for the Director of the Historical Society- a position she has now held for 31 years. During that time the Museum has received many awards of merit and has become a siginficant repository of Civil War artifacts and was instrumental in the preservation of the monument on the Green. People from all over the country come to Susquehanna County to research their geneologies and Smith has a reputation as being accessible and helpful in tracking down family histories. She has put Susquehanna County history on the map and has achieved a significant reputation as a trusted historian.