The Growing Up Chester capital campaign received $1,600 in donations in honor of longtime Chester Bowl supporter, Pat Taly, who passed away in November 2017 due to ALS. The following is a tribute to Pat Taly written by her daughter, Jessica Hehir.
In November 2017, we lost our mom, Pat Taly, to ALS. She lived with her diagnosis for a short nine months. This past summer she gave up running, hiking, biking, kayaking and golf. As the leaves turned, she also faced the reality of a long winter without the joys of snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Despite the loss of her active life, she kept a mantra found on her beach bag, “Seas the Day.”
This summer she sat on the edge of the Chester Bowl playground during the Tuesday night concerts and
watched her granddaughters master the monkey bars. The terrain was too difficult for her to traverse but the lure of the park and the promise of another great concert was too much to resist. She may have been on the sidelines, but she was present.
On one particular evening, it had become evident her energy levels had reached a new low. My mind wandered to the winter ski season and our daughters’ Sunday morning races. Mom loved to watch the girls on the hill.
When my husband, daughters and I moved back to Duluth, she was the one who encouraged us to take part in the Chester Bowl ski program. She loved the community, the affordability of the rental program and the ability to “pay” a portion of the fees through volunteering at the hill.
A number of years ago, Mom rented skis for herself and took the adult lessons at Chester Bowl. She was looking for an easy way to get out during the winter months. Mom thought it was a hoot making hot cocoa for the kids and enjoyed chatting with the other volunteers at the concession stand.
On that summer night, I realized Mom would not be able to watch our daughters’ ski races this year. The current chalet is not ADA accessible. This thought struck hard. The need for a new chalet has a heightened importance and a real sense of urgency for our family. I began to understand in a very practical sense that accessibility is not just for the park users or athletes and campers at Chester Bowl; accessibility is also crucial for the people they love and who love them back. Accessibility is also for the cheerleaders in our lives no matter their age or ability.
Mom did not live long enough to see the start of the 2017 ski season. Our family had lengthy discussions about looking for a group to receive memorial gifts in her name. We wanted a place that embodied all she held dear; she loved life and she loved her family. We wanted to find a place to support families, a place to explore the great outdoors, a place that supports the arts and provides a sense of community. These tenets lead us to Chester Bowl’s Growing Up Chester capital campaign.
My brother wrote the following, “They [Chester Bowl] need funds to help build a new chalet which would create this legacy piece that mom helped create. The idea that Mom’s name and memory would help create something instead of just maintaining an existing project sounds right to me.”
The Growing Up Chester capital campaign deeply appreciates the contributions made to the campaign in honor of Pat Taly. These donations bring us closer to making our Thom Storm Chalet accessible to all—athletes and cheerleaders alike.