Edith Wilson - McLaughlin-Wilson Scholarship Fund
Edith Wilson was an artist whose creative and philanthropic vision encompassed the community she loved: the small, rural town of Monterey, Massachusetts.
Born in 1913, Ms. Wilson grew up in Cairo, Illinois. After high school, she moved to Chicago to attend the prestigious Art Institute. There she met fellow student Marjorie McLaughlin, who became her life partner until McLaughlin’s death in1991. The two women moved to the small, rural town of Monterey, Massachusetts in 1942. Their legacy lives on in the town in many ways.
Ms. Wilson was a versatile artist, working as a painter, sculptor and architect. The Town of Monterey owns many of her oil paintings and still uses her design for the town seal, which portrays details of the town’s buildings, farms and landscape. Active in town affairs for many years, Ms. Wilson served on the School Board, Planning Board, Board of Appeals and Historical Commission. Through a bequest to Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Edith Wilson established a scholarship fund at Berkshire Taconic which helps Monterey youth with their college expenses. Needless to say, in a town of roughly 900 people, the fund has an enormous impact. To date, the McLaughlin-Wilson Scholarship Fund has provided college scholarships totaling around $812,985 and supporting about 70 students.
By all accounts, Ms. Wilson had a unique gift for friendship and community spirit, particularly enjoying the company of children, whose spontaneity and directness she admired. At the age of 76, she wrote a poem entitled “I Am an Artist,” which expresses her personal credo.
I think my own thoughts
Preferring them to any told to me.
Through life have come nudges, cries, screams.
I have felt, heard and assimilated all
But the output from my soul-gut
Comes from where?
I weep for the artists
Who dreamed, starved and died.
Their work is now on the block –
Going – going, gone for millions.
Shame and pity on grasping hands and calloused hearts
Of those who will never understand.
Bonded to all who,
Through an unfathomable haze
Have loved, cherished, adored and lived
For who knows what?
We are sure it exists
And it does and will forever.
I am an artist! No other way!
Ms. Wilson’s gravestone inscription, which she and Marjorie McLaughlin planned, reminds visitors to “Revel in the Sunset.” A fitting sentiment from a woman whose vision, even in her twilight years, was to forever enrich the lives of her friends and neighbors in Monterey.