When the time comes to tally those accounts, one of the names on the list of those who left an lasting impression behind them will undoubtedly be that of Georgette Levis, who passed away last week following a courageous battle with cancer. Georgette, along with her husband Albert, ran the Wilburton Inn. They acquired it on something of an impulse in 1987, rescuing it from a likely date with bankruptcy court and taking it over just in time to be walloped by the freak snowstorm that October and then coping with the uncertainty of a major stock market downturn. But a more conventional launch to their business might have been less in keeping with the theatrical and unique flair they brought to their inn.
Georgette might have been a dancer with the world famous Rockettes, but she turned down that opportunity to pursue her education. She never lost a love for show business though, and during her time here she was a staunch supporter of the arts and particularly the performing arts. She staged plays at the inn, was a friend of the Dorset Theater Festival, and a tireless promoter of Manchester and the Mountains.
She was a board member of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce for two decades and a not infrequent visitor here at The Journal, where she would drop in from time to time to ask about one thing or another or simply probe our thinking on whatever issue of the day might have been on her mind.
The Wilburton Inn was also the setting for many gatherings ranging from the political through the cultural and the culinary. Fortunately, the inn is now in the hands of her family's next generation, and its role at the center of local arts and community involvement secure.
One of the things that makes Manchester and its surrounding region distinctive is the multi-faceted offerings of art and culture, and Georgette Levis played a central role in helping develop that.
Each of us is unique, and each of us makes our contribution. Georgette's contribution was out-sized, and collectively we have a heavier lift to make than we used to in order to offset her loss. Part of Georgette's legacy was to have a firm belief in the power of positive thinking, and a faith that sooner or later, someone will always rise to pick up the slack.
As Georgette might have said, the show will go on.