Tuttle, Esther Leeming KINDERHOOK Esther Leeming Tuttle, "Faity," of Kinderhook, died Thursday, July 9, 2015, at Camphill Village Ghent, surrounded by family and loved ones. She was a Broadway actress, author and "The Best Granny Ever." She was 104. Faity was born on July 1, 1911, in New Canaan, Conn. She was proud of her education from the Warrenton Country School in Warrenton, Va., where she learned French "with a Parisian accent", and horseback riding. Her acting career began in New York City in the 1930s, appearing on Broadway with Humphrey Bogart, Leslie Howard and in summer stock with Henry Fonda. She played various characters in the 1939 World's Fair. A long-time member of The Snarks, Ltd., she performed at the Amateur Comedy Club in New York City. Featured in the New York Times as a centenarian, she was recently in a BBC documentary on how to live a long active life. As a granny model, she enjoyed appearing in commercials, print ads and magazines like the Rolling Stone, Shape and Vogue. She appeared on Law and Order, the Conan O'Brien and the David Letterman shows, and in movies including, Cher's Moonstruck and Julia Roberts' film Mona Lisa. Her memoir co-authored with Rebecca Greer, "No Rocking Chair For Me" was written in 2003. Faity was a dedicated volunteer. She was chairman of the board of trustees of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for seven years, an active member of the New York Chapter of the Colonial Dames of America, Mrs. Field's Literary Society and The Cosmopolitan Club. She divided her time between New York City and her 200-year-old farmhouse in Kinderhook. Her house was the home of Jesse Merwin, the prototype for Washington Irving's Ichabod Crane. Her contributions Upstate included serving on the board of the Shaker Museum and Library for 25 years. She was active in the Columbia County Historical Society, Friends of the Kinderhook Memorial Library and Old Chatham Hunt Club. She enjoyed riding horses and driving carriages until she was 89, yoga every morning, sipping martinis overlooking her ponds and being with her family. She is predeceased by her husband, Franklin Benjamin Tuttle; her daughter, Mary Debye-Saxinger; and her grandson, Christopher Tuttle. She is survived by her sons, Woodruff Leeming Tuttle (Dawn), Frank James Tuttle (Nora); and son-in-law Norwig Debye-Saxinger (Michele) all of Kinderhook. She is also survived by 10 grandchildren, Benjamin Tuttle (Sally), Thomas Tuttle (Mila), Tamzine Noxon (Steven), Elizabeth Carroll (Robert), Jefferson Tuttle, Gerhard Debye-Saxinger (Amy), Honor Taft (Douglas), Peter Debye-Saxinger, Maria Counts (Christopher), Tristan Debye-Saxinger; 23 great-grandchildren, a great- great-granddaughter and several nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be July 18, 2015, at 10 a.m., Dutch Reformed Church, Kinderhook, followed by interment at the family cemetery on Faity's Lane and a reception at the Merwin Farm House. A memorial service at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden will be at a future date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225.
Published by Albany Times Union on Jul. 14, 2015.