In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Don Cecil 

Donald Cecil, a dedicated friend of the arts and education, and a champion of those less fortunate, recently passed away.  He and his late wife Jane were well-known figures in the philanthropic world of Westchester – at the Neuberger Museum of Art, the Purchase College Foundation and at  ArtsWestchester, from whom they received the 2016 Arts Patron Award (Jane posthumously). Don Cecil was a Yale man, an executive in a family business, and finally a successful investor and financial advisor.  In retirement, he devoted himself to philanthropy and education by mentoring young people through the Jandon Scholars, a program he and his wife founded that enabled students from low-income families to attend college. Cecil’s many business and charitable accomplishments will be remembered, but he will perhaps be known most as a loving husband, father and friend to all who knew him.

In Memoriam: Lee Pope

Leandra (Lee) Pope, founder of the Schoolhouse Theater, recently passed away. In 1983, Pope had a vision for turning an abandoned elementary school in Croton Falls into a theater and arts center. After the cafeteria/gym turned into a theater and classrooms became galleries, Schoolhouse became a respected professional theater. Since, accomplished and emerging actors, directors and producers have worked with the theater. As well, several plays produced there have made their way to Off-Broadway. Pope was honored in 2018 with an ArtsWestchester Arts Award in the Community category.

A version of this article first appeared in the May issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at

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