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Founder's Legacy

 

Edward T. Bedford

The Foundation was established in 1994 by E. T. Bedford Davie, and is named in honor of his maternal grandfather, Edward T. Bedford.

Edward T. Bedford was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1849, to Fredrick and Mary Bedford of London, England. The Bedfords emigrated to the United States in 1848 and settled in Brooklyn, where Fredrick became a respected wood carver. His most noted work was the carving of the frame, which held the portrait of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), which was presented to Queen Victoria by the City of New York.

Educated initially in the Brooklyn public school system, Edward attended and later graduated from Maplegrove Academy in Westport, Connecticut.

Edward worked initially as a salesman for Charles Pratt & Co., selling lubricating and heating oils. Through collaboration with his friend, Robert Chesebrough, he helped develop and market the petroleum by-product now more commonly known as Vaseline. Mr. Bedford later became a sales agent for Standard Oil, and was named a director of that company in 1903.

Soon thereafter Mr. Bedford left his interests in the oil business to his son, Charles and went on to devote his energies to his newly formed Corn Products Refining Company (known more recently as CPC International). The company developed and marketed starch, sweeteners and corn oils.

Edward T. Bedford was a personal friend of John D. Rockefeller and his business acumen was highly regarded. He was the frequent subject of news articles and was even mentioned in Dale Carnegie's seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People.

A devoted family man, Mr. Bedford was the father of three daughters (Mary, Emily and Grace) and two sons (Charles and Fredrick). He was an avid sportsman, whose equine breeding interests included Diplomat and Hamburg Belle. He held numerous records while at the reins of his prized trotters.

Mr. Bedford died in 1931, at age 82, in Westport, Connecticut.

 

E. T. Bedford Davie

The Foundation's settlor, E. T. Bedford Davie, was born in Greens Farms, Connecticut, in 1913, to Preston and Emily (Bedford) Davie. Emily was a favored daughter of industrialist Edward T. Bedford. She was an accomplished horsewoman and prominent member of New York society. Preston Davie, the son of Judge George M. Davie of Louisville, Kentucky, became a Colonel in the U.S. Army, and was a decorated veteran and Harvard educated lawyer.

Bedford (known as Bud or Buddy) attended Aiken Prep, the Brooks School and was a member of the Class of 1936 at Yale University. He traveled extensively and excelled in all things athletic--boxing, tennis, squash, golf and motor boat racing. A member of the American Power Boat Association Hall of Fame, his racing activities began while growing up in Tuxedo Park, New York. Young Buddy set numerous world records on neighboring Green Pond, his first at 71 mph in 1931. He represented the United States for the Spreckels Cup in France in 1936 where he took second place. In 1989 the world record for a single-propeller driven craft was set at 176.56 mph at Parker, AZ by a boat Buddy Davie owned.

Buddy received a Black Belt in Karate from Masutatsu Oyama in 1960, becoming one of the first Americans to do so. In 1971 he won the Bing Crosby Invitational Golf Tournament in Tres Vidas, Mexico. Buddy also teamed up with Jimmy Demaret to win the Latham Cup at Seminole Club in North Palm Beach, Florida. In addition to golf, Buddy was a highly regarded squash player at Yale and was an accomplished tennis player in both singles and doubles.

Buddy was twice married, first to model and cover girl Marilyn "Tee" Matthews of Winter Haven, Florida. They had two children, Deirdre and E. T. Bedford (Jr). The marriage later ended in divorce. In 1962, Buddy married for the second time, beginning a more than 40-year partnership with Diana (Dysie) Wing. This partnership was the driving force behind the highly successful "343" Worth Avenue, which in the late 1960's and early 1970's became the "go to" location for those seeking objets d'art and custom designed jewelry. Buddy's tremendous eye for design and his artistic abilities combined perfectly with Dysie's irrepressible personality and style.

Buddy and Dysie retired from "343" in 1976. They left Palm Beach and settled in Scottsdale, Arizona for the next 17 years. Buddy then returned to motor boat racing, spending his time developing a Formula One outboard team, "Second Effort Racing", which dominated the F1 circuit from 1982 to 1986.

In 1993, the couple moved back to Palm Beach (against Buddy's desires), in order to accommodate Dysie's wishes "not to die in the desert!" Buddy and Dysie remained in Palm Beach, entertaining and surrounded by close friends until Buddy's death in 2003. Dysie passed away in 2008, and is warmly remembered as one of Palm Beach's kindest and most generous personalities.