For 30 years Beverley Sved gave her heart and soul to Scarsdale, serving as a mayor, trustee, and holding a host of other vital positions in the village. So it’s no surprise that the Scarsdale Woman’s Club was packed Nov. 28 as residents gathered with Beverley’s widower Paul Sved and his family to remember a pillar of the Scarsdale community.
The two-hour program consisted of a cocktail hour, after which former village trustee David Buchen acted as master of ceremonies and longtime Scarsdale resident and volunteer Evelyn Stock was a keynote speaker.
Buchen said the club originally expected approximately 60-70 attendees, but more than 100 people showed up to remember Sved.
Stock said the number of people who came to the memorial only gave credence to what she already knew.
“It was affirmation — that she was everything I thought she was,” said Stock. “That she had made a difference to a wide range of people, to a wide range of organizations, in a way that Scarsdale could really be proud of.”
Stock recalled her speech about Sved 10 months earlier as Sved received the 2018 Scarsdale Bowl award for volunteer service.
She said it seemed almost unbelievable that she spoke about her good friend in the present tense then and was now speaking about her in the past tense.
Nevertheless, in both instances, she laid out just how much Sved was an important part of Scarsdale.
“Everywhere she earned the reputation as a dedicated, perceptive, intelligent, calm, consensus builder who created a collaborative and collegial working atmosphere,” Stock told those in attendance. “She was able to balance competing interests to promote the best interests of the community or organization, often reaching out to solicit and understand other points of view.”
Stock continued, “Her goal was the resolution of problems, not attaining personal credit. She was a proven team player, never attempting to micromanage, working well with fellow board members and the village staff.”
Buchen also recalled the Scarsdale Bowl, noting Sved’s speech about service to Scarsdale.
“I thought her comments at the Bowl were wonderful,” Buchen said. “Basically it wasn’t a speech about herself. It was a speech about service.”
“Her [closing] comment was, ‘When you serve as a volunteer, you get back so much more than you give,” Buchen added.
Sved’s comments at the Scarsdale Bowl were very much a charge to Scarsdale.
“It’s time for a new volunteer,” Sved said to her beloved Scarsdale community.
“I’m heartened to look out at this gathering and know that several of you can and will be leaders of [the new types of volunteers],” said Sved. She said the new volunteers will be “smart and knowledgeable of the workings of village government and school administration, willing to take risks, able to compromise, and to act — not for special interests” but in the best interest of Scarsdale.
After the event, Sved further explained her call for a “new type of volunteer” who will be skilled in managing finances in addition to having a good knowledge of the inner workings of the schools and village and should be able to get the schools and village officials to work “jointly” to save taxpayers money.
She said the people who come up with these ideas to save money should not only be able to develop those plans but also have the skills to get people to actually follow them.
Sved also had a message for people living in Scarsdale who have not yet dipped their toe in the volunteer pool.
“You’ll like it,” she said, “but watch out, because it really is addictive.”
Near the end of her comments at Sved’s memorial last Wednesday, Stock made sure to remind people that Sved was more than just an outstanding volunteer.
“We cannot forget the Beverley who made working with her so pleasurable and made her a wonderful friend,” Stock said. “She was fun to be with, had a wicked sense of humor, was always able to see the humor in a situation and always had a smile.”