History Society Gets $1M Bequest From Tyler Estate

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – For the second year in a row, the Mahoning Valley Historical Society gathered on the birthday of the late Jeanne Deibel Tyler to announce a major contribution.

On Aug. 23, a donation of $1,045,101 to the MVHS from the estate of Tyler was made public at a luncheon in the ballroom of the Tyler History Center. The day would have been the 98th birthday of Tyler, who died in 2019 and for whom the Tyler History Center is named.

On Aug. 23 of 2021, a gift of $1 million from Tyler’s estate was announced.

The latest bequest will be the final one from Tyler and settles her estate, said William Lawson, executive director of the MVHS. The money will go entirely toward The Tyler center’s endowment fund.

“This bequest will make us more secure for generations to come,” Lawson said.

The 2021 bequest was split between the endowments of The Tyler History Center and the Arms Family Museum, which is also owned and operated by the MVHS, Lawson said.

Tyler has donated over $3 million to the MVHS over the years, Lawson said. A philanthropist and community activist, she devoted most of her efforts to the group and its mission to preserve local history.

Tyler’s gift of $750,000 in 2008 was the cornerstone of a fund-raising drive to transform the building at 325 W. Federal St., downtown, into the Tyler History Center. The museum of Youngstown history opened in 2012.

She was a member of the MVHS board of directors for nearly 40 years and served two stints as its president.

She was born Jeanne Marie Deibel in Lakewood, Ohio, in 1924, and graduated from the Laurel School in Cleveland and The University of Michigan.

In 1947, she married John Frederick Tyler at the home of her grandmother, Helen Struthers Thomas, and grandfather, Charles Thomas, who was a steel mill owner in the Mahoning Valley in the early 1900s.

Pictured at top: Gathered around Tyler family memorabilia are Scott Schulick, president of MVHS board;  Linda Kostka, MVHS development director; Sunny Masters, a relative of Mrs. Tyler; and Bill Lawson, MVHS executive director.