Roslyn Steinbach Tate, 79, Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce executive

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Roslyn Steinbach Tate, 79, of Lafayette Hill, a self-professed Army brat whose expansive world view and welcoming nature made her a valuable executive with the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, died Monday, July 10, of an infection at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Camera icon Courtesy of the family

Roslyn Steinbach Tate

The daughter of Army Major Gen. Richard Steinbach, of Bridesburg, Mrs. Tate moved 30 times in 23 years of his military postings. The longest, four years, was to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she learned Portuguese. She mixed easily with top brass in social situations.

In 1976, she was recruited by the chamber to run the nonprofit’s relocation center, providing information to corporate families moving into the Philadelphia area. She was a natural for the job.

“Lyn had a way of making people feel comfortable and welcome in all settings,” her family wrote in an appreciation.

Her duties grew to include event planning, such as the chamber’s William Penn Award Black Tie Gala.

“I worked with many outstanding business leaders,” she wrote in an autobiography. “In this position, I developed the theme, chose the location, and hired all the decorators and entertainers. The event became known as one of the best parties in the area.”

Over the years, she developed a forum for small businesses as well as events with the Phillies, luncheons with Philadelphia’s mayor, and seminars on topics of interest to business executives and entrepreneurs.

“When special opportunities came up,” she wrote, “I was asked to run the event. We hosted President George H.W. Bush at a luncheon.” She retired as vice president of events in 2008.

Born at Ft Benning, Ga., Mrs. Tate graduated from high school while her family was stationed at Ft. Monroe in Hampton, Va. She attended the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash.

After a year in Germany and six months of study at the University of Madrid, Spain, she returned to the U.S in 1960 to become a marketing and executive assistant to the CEO of Fieldcrest Inc. in New York. Fieldcrest, a maker of linens and other home products, is now the Pillowtex Corp.

In 1963, she moved to Philadelphia to marry Mercer D. Tate, a Philadelphia lawyer active in politics and civic affairs.

“As the wife of a prominent Philadelphia lawyer and politician, Lyn was in a near constant state of entertaining,” her family wrote.” Those events included hosting ward leader meetings and numerous dinner parties, both professional and personal in nature.

“She thrived in that capacity as an Army brat, who could add a touch of class to company social functions, all the while extending her sincere sense of generosity and hospitality.”

The couple lived in West Mt. Airy while they reared two sons and a daughter. In 1989, they moved to Chestnut Hill. Mrs. Tate’s husband died in 1991 at age 61. She moved to Lafayette Hill in 2011.

She was a member of the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill and the Philadelphia Cricket Club.

Mrs. Tate enjoyed community volunteer work, gardening, swimming, tennis, digging for clams, cooking, travel, and knitting. She was on the board of directors of West Mt. Airy Neighbors and the Marriage Council of the University of Pennsylvania.

Mrs. Tate was very generous. “Lyn was often the first to think of doing something for a friend or family in need,” said her relatives.

“She had a wonderful smile and was very quick to share it,” said Janice Mannal, a friend of the family.

Mrs. Tate is survived by children Dr. Richard S., Rebecca T. Miller, and Christian M.; seven grandchildren; and a sister.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia. Burial is private.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Matt Miller Garden Fund, William Penn Charter School, 3000 W. School House Lane, Philadelphia, Pa. 19144.

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