Jill Tietsort Rinehart of Charlottesville died on Saturday, October 18, 2014.
The only child of John D. Tietsort and Edith Brisben Tietsort, she was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 14, 1920.
A trailblazer for women’s opportunities and leadership, a dedicated public servant, supporter of the arts, realtor and avid gardener, Jill met each phase of her life with a strong and principled enthusiasm.
Jill and her family moved to several cities over her young life, but her first experience of living in Virginia came when she attended the Warrenton Country School, a French boarding school for girls, for her high school years. There she befriended Jane Rinehart who introduced her to her brother, William Alonzo Rinehart III. Jill and Bill became engaged in 1939 and were married in the chapel of St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City on October 7, 1940, a marriage that would last 67 years until Bill’s death in 2007.
Jill attended Smith College from 1937 to 1939, concentrating in music. Playing the piano on national radio at the age of 7 would be the beginning of a life-long love of music from classical and musicals to Big Band and Ragtime.
Her early volunteer commitments in the Charlottesville community included The University League, Camp Faith and the Red Cross.
Jill was a member and past president of the Albemarle Garden Club. In the early 1950’s some of the graduates of Mrs. Nellie Hough’s Landscape Gardening Course, one of whom was Jill, formed an unstructured garden and book group. Fifty years later, she would chronicle their adventures in “Memories of A Book Group, From Gardening to Reading, 1950-2002.”
In 1969 Jill opened the Current Scene, an art gallery promoting local and statewide artists. Her wine and cheese Sunday openings were well attended!
Jill was the founding member and president of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Democratic Women’s Club from 1970 to 1972. She was the first woman elected to the Charlottesville City Council serving from 1972 to 1976. In 1974 she was also the first woman to chair the 7th District Virginia Democratic Finance Committee. Two years later she became the Virginia Women’s Political Caucus state coordinator. In 1977 Jill chaired the Virginia International Women’s Year Coordinating Committee.
Continuing her civic interests, Jill chaired the Jefferson Area Board for Aging from 1975 to 1977, as well as serving on the advisory council for the Shelter for Help in Emergency. Other commitments included the Charlottesville-Albemarle Bicentennial Commission, The Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Jail Board, the Shenandoah Valley Educational Television Corporation and the Westminster Childcare Center. In 1976 she co-founded the Virginia Women’s Forum to honor outstanding women in government, business and the professions.
Returning to college, Jill graduated from the University of Virginia in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in government, with honors. Her involvement with U.Va. continued with her support of the Women’s Center, now the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center. As a founding member of the Women’s Center Council and its development board, she also established the Distinguished Leadership Series and the Jill T. Rinehart library.
Jill is survived by her daughter Carol Rinehart Pinckney and husband Thomas Pinckney II of McClellanville, S.C.; her daughter Jennifer Nichols Rinehart and husband Edward Foss of Charlottesville; her son William Alonzo Rinehart IV of Amisville, Va.; her grandchildren Thomas Pinckney III and his wife Amy McFadden; Grace Brooke Rinehart and her fiancé Matthew Semanik; and a great-grandson, Thomas Schilling Pinckney.
The family would especially like to thank Kim Hill for nine years of extraordinary help and support, as well as the second floor Catered Living staff and third floor Health Care staff at Westminster-Canterbury.
A celebration of Jill’s life was held on November 8, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. in the Rotunda Room at Westminster-Canterbury of the Blue Ridge.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center at the University of Virginia, the Jefferson Area Board for Aging, Hospice of the Piedmont or a charity of one’s choice.
Story by Anne Bromley