Mary Tait Seibert Goldschmid died on the day she was ready — Jan. 12, 2024 — and by the means she chose — a physician-accompanied suicide at Dignitas in Zurich, Switzerland, one of the few places in the world where Americans with advanced Parkinson’s can go to get a suicide that is painless, dignified, and legal. She was 76.
A long-time Riverdale resident, Goldschmid was an active member of the community. She belonged to the Riverdale Yacht Club and Wave Hill and taught at The College of Mount Saint Vincent.
Born Mary Tait Seibert on July 15, 1947, she was the third daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Seibert, preceded by sisters Jean and Joanne. Her father was chair of the marketing department in the business school of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Her mother was alumnae director of Western College for Women, also in Oxford, Ohio.
Mary was married for 41 years to Harvey Jerome Goldschmid, Dwight Professor of Law at Columbia Law School (1970-2015) and a Democratic appointee to the Securities and Exchange Commission (2002-2005).
Together, they raised three sons: Charles Maxwell, Paul MacNeil, and Joseph Tait. They had lived in Riverdale since the 1980s.
She graduated from Smith College, summa cum laude, and received her PhD from Columbia Business School. She worked as a corporate economist for most of her professional career but also spent years as an economics professor at The College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale.
Her great pride and joy were her “three exceptional sons who married three wonderful women who produced five glorious grandkids.” She was a devoted mother who put her sons above anything else and taught them that hard work and creativity can be an unstoppable combination.
When asked, just days before her passing, how she hoped to be remembered, Mary said she hoped others would think of her as someone with boundless generosity, an intrepid spirit of adventure, and a wry sense of humor. She added that her last “dying wish” was not for better highlights in her aging hair but for the transmission of her gene for “tearable” puns to subsequent generations.
Dignitas, a Swiss physician-assisted suicide clinic, handled her arrangements.
In lieu of a memorial service, she urged her friends and family, to get together for a rousing game of Hearts. “Be sure to serve popcorn with enough salt to as-salt the senses.” she said.