Old First recently received a bequest of $5,000 from Annette Smith, a member of long-standing, who passed away in early April. Most recently, she lived in the Protestant Home.
Annette was well-known by our longer term members. She is remembered by many for her art, many examples of which hang in other members’ homes.
Annette was is an artist since she was six. Her first showing of her art was at Old First in 1996! She is a native of the Philadelphia area and attended The Philadelphia College of Art” (now the University of the Arts). World War II interrupted her studies, and she spent the next thirty-four years in the Engineering Department of Bell Telephone. She was still painting well into her late 70s creating her warm, vibrant, signature watercolors.”
She explained to Nancy Donohue before that first show at Old First, that she used photographs taken on her travels as references for many of her works. She also said that it was someone else at the Protestant Home who who taught her how to paint flowers.
Her sister, Florence Atz, also has artwork known around Old First. The needlepoint escutcheon that stands on poles at the front of the sanctuary depicting the emblem of the German Reformed Church in America that was formed on this sight is some of her handiwork. Also the cross and orb sculpture (framed on the right front wall of the sanctuary), and the cross and orb parament were here creastions. They were made for the installation of Avery Post as General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, a service that was held in our sanctuary. Both sisters were very talented women.
The swan sofa at the west end of the upper narthex was a gift of Anne Fry Smith, Annette’s mother, in 1969. Furniture restorer Jim Gullick said that the sofa and the marble toped in the sanctuary communion table dated from the same time period (1830’s – 1850’s), and thus he recommended that the sofa (once restored) replace the oak cabinet under the front window in the upper narthex (since the oak cabinet does not fit in with the time period or style of our building) The swans are apparently hand carved.
We will give thanks for Annette and her many gifts given over the long time of her participation in this community, and even after her death in our worship service on May 29. People are invited to bring her artwork to church that Sunday where they will be displayed with some other artwork of hers that the church still owns.
How good it is at the end of a long life to give God thanks for the person who passed our way… May Annette find eternal peace now in that heavenly space with some many rooms.