If Stanley Bosworth had been at his own jam-packed memorial in Brooklyn Heights earlier this month, he might have sniffed, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!”
The late tart-tongued founding headmaster of St. Ann’s School — who once fired-off the iconic line from “Gone with the Wind” upon learning that his school was ranked No. 1 in the nation by the Wall Street Journal — received a swanky send-off at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church where an overflowing crowd bid a fond farewell on Oct. 15 to the offbeat educator, who graced his office with nude student artwork, wrote personal statements for each of his graduates’ college applications, and sculpted his school into a nerve center for artistic expression and individualism.
Faculty, administrators and alums came from as far away as Austria and China to hail the spirit and work of the academic visionary who passed away in August, leaving behind an unmatched legacy which pushed for learning without the pressure of grades, and developed St. Ann’s into a top American school for enrolling the most graduates into Ivy League and other select colleges.
Red carpet fashion designer Zac Posen, class of 1999, was among the speakers who heralded Bosworth’s unwavering commitment to his students while his passion for the arts was celebrated with some of the classical works he loved to share with them, including Mozart’s “Twelfth Mass,” the poem “Correspondences” by Baudelaire, and “Ariel’s Song” from The Tempest.
“I spent almost every day in his office [talking about] topics from the abstract to the humorous culture of current affairs, he truly believed in the power of a young mind,” reflected Posen.
The service, which featured a live video feed in the parish hall to accommodate the flood of visitors, was followed by a reception in the school’s Bosworth Building on Pierrepont Street — also the stomping ground of such alums as actress Jennifer Connelly and Mike D of the Beastie Boys.
There, too, the man who inspired shock and awe, and openly discussed sex and philosophy, was remembered as being in a class of his own.
“It was a true expression of love,” said Linda Kaufman, the school’s associate head, who worked with Bosworth from 1968 until his ouster for oddball behavior in 2004. “He was a brilliant, eccentric man who adored children.”