Alice Lea Tasman

by Richard S. Lee

Wyndmoor’s Alice Lea Tasman can say “Been there, done that” about a panoply of positive activities. And she can also say, “Been there, still doing that!” about quite a few of them.

From a year of teaching and studying at the Sorbonne in Paris for her Junior year before earning a B.A. in Art History from Barnard College (class of 1955) to tying for first place in her age group in a recent 5K walk, Tasman has lived a life of wide-ranging activity largely focused on community service. She is also the published author of two books, talented artist, PR specialist, world traveler, skilled events coordinator and fund-raiser extraordinaire.

On Thursday, June 20, Tasman will be one of three 2019 inductees into the Historic Germantown Hall of Fame. The award honors all her community service accomplishments, including being one of the founders of the original Chestnut Hill Historical Society (now Conservancy), but focuses primarily on her dedication to the implementation and fund-raising for the famed History Hunters program and her commitment to Stenton (one of Historic Germantown’s) and The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The “history hunters” are kids – the more than 30,000 area school children who, through this unique program, have experienced Philadelphia and American history by no-cost instructional visits to several of the 18 historic sites in the consortium of Historic Germantown. Married since 1962 to the late William Tasman, M.D., ophthalmologist and chief at Wills Eye Hospital, with whom she was blessed to have had a great partnership, Alice Lea continues to work on Wills Eye Hospital projects. Tasman has created and supported many art-related programs for the blind and visually impaired.

In an essay on marriage, she wrote: “…a few of my most beloved projects were helping to found the Chestnut Hill Historical Society, designing our community’s logo, work in Morocco for the Helen Keller Foundation, [doing] development for Project Orbis – a flying eye hospital, being selected as a Serving Sister of the Order of St. John, the Mayor’s Art in City Hall project and the presidency of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

Among other “Been there, still doing that” roles is that of cheerleader. Literally one in her school days, she is still one, cheering on whatever is next in her busy life – including the Historic Germantown Hall of Fame Award. Her “cheer” for friends and family alike is “Go Team Go! Never Give Up.”

In addition to Tasman, Historic Germantown’s 2019 Hall of Fame honorees will be Joan Countryman, the first African American student at Germantown Friends School, a mathematics teacher there for 23 years, and first head of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa; and Germantown-born Jerry Pinkney, an acclaimed African American artist-historian, and winner of numerous Caldecott awards (the Oscars of children’s book publishing).

The awards ceremony will be the highlight of a celebration from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 20, with music, food and drink in the courtyard of Historic Germantown’s headquarters at 5501 Germantown Ave. Ticket and sponsorship information can be found at FreedomsBackyard.com. Ten percent of all proceeds will go to Historic Germantown’s Sustaining Our Sites Fund.

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