The Shipley Magazine

Why I Give: Adele Hunter Hepburn ’45

Adele Hunter Hepburn ’45 passed away peacefully on April 25, 2019, in Devon, PA. One of seven family members to graduate from Shipley between 1945 and 1976, she carried with her warm memories of Miss Speer and her tremendous spiritual influence at the School. Adele loved music from an early age, and as she became more devout in her religious practice, she began to compose her own songs, singing them daily. Though she did not have any formal music training, according to her family, she would wake up in the middle of the night with a song or tune in her head and write it down in a shorthand she developed.

Hepburn would write a song for just about any occasion—effectively setting the events of her life to music. One of her sons, Michael Taylor, writes, “If she were visiting the Philadelphia Zoo, it would be a song about dinosaurs—not that the zoo had any. If she were visiting us in Boston, it would be about the Charles River or our 17th century home. When she and [her late husband] Austin visited the Cincinnati Society, there would be a song; Union League, a song; Main Line Antiques Club, a song; Thanksgiving, where we would often gather at our father’s house in Gladwyne, a song. Something would be missing if there wasn’t one.”

It is only fitting, then, that Hepburn’s three daughters—and fellow Shipley alumnae—chose to designate her legacy gift to the School’s theater arts program, which annually produces a musical in each of the three divisions. “It’s exactly what Mom would want,” the siblings agreed.

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The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.