MVHS Receives $1M Bequest from Tyler Center Namesake’s Estate

YOUNGSTOWN – 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 Tuesday, 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 bequest announced Monday 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.

“Jeanne gave not only of her treasure but of her time and talent over the years,” said MVHS board president Scott Schulick said.


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.
Tyler was general counsel of American Welding and Manufacturing in Warren. The couple traveled extensively across the world.

The couple were the lead donors in the capital campaign for the renovation of the Carriage House, a building behind the Arms Family Museum that houses the MVHS archives. John Tyler died in 1987.


The MVHS will soon launch a capital campaign to raise money to acquire and prepare space to house its large and ever-growing collection, said Lawson.

This would include space for the Idora Park collection owned by Jim and Toni Amey of Canfield. The MVHS is in talks to acquire the collection, which includes everything from roller coaster cars to photos and other artifacts from the park that once stood on Youngstown’s south side.

The Ameys amassed the collection over the years and house it in a museum next to their home on South Turner Road. They had been holding public open houses several times a year. The most recent open house, earlier this summer, was the final one, as the Ameys intend to divest themselves of the collection and possibly move to a new location.

Lawson could not say at this time where the Idora Park collection would be housed.

Pictured above from left: Scott Schulick, MVHS Board of Directors president; Linda Kostka, MVHS development director; Sunny Masters, Jeanne’s cousin once removed and Bill Lawson, MVHS executive director

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