Tanya Thilmany has died, aged 91. She is the first of two children of Grigory and Glafira (nee Stankevich) Vernigora, both refugees of the Russian Revolution; Glafira, making her way with family assistance from St. Petersburg to Istanbul, Turkey as a 17-year old while Grigory, then aged 18, stowed away on a ship from Yalta bound for the same destination. The two later met in a Russian neighborhood. Both Tanya and her brother Eugene were born and grew up in Istanbul. Despite the hardship of starting a new life in a new land, Tanya's parents had both their children largely privately educated. Tanya attended Robert College for Girls for her high school education and then attended Robert College itself on the Bosphorus for her undergraduate English degree. Tanya spoke Russian, Turkish, German, English and French. She loved the cosmopolitan environment of Istanbul: "the sights, the smells, the sounds….." How she loved it all. In 1955 Tanya met, under initially less auspicious circumstance (she claimed he literally bumped into her on the sidewalk), the love of her life, Hans Thilmany. Two years later, after having moved to the outskirts of Geneva, Switzerland, Hans asked her to marry him. Her ardor for the quiet Swiss life was far less. Following a 1958 military coup in Turkey, her parents were once again refugees, this time in New York City. Four years after marriage, Hans and Tanya had their only child, a son. By 1962, Tanya persuaded Hans that they should take their young family "for two years" to the United States. They lived briefly on 140th Street with Tanya's parents until Hans found employment in Long Island. By 1965, opportunity knocked in Stamford, CT and they settled into their new home in Darien, where they lived the rest of their lives. The couple loved Darien and especially Pear Tree Point Beach and Ziegler's Cove, which they would visit on their sailboat, a Pearson Ensign. Tanya worked as an administrative assistant in Stamford until her retirement.
Tanya adored – and dedicated her life to - her family: her parents, brother, husband, son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. They were the center of her life and she theirs