Marlyn and Alyn Essman’s Planned Giving

“You open your home, you teach, you give.” This is how Judy Essman Taylor describes the life motto of her own parents, Marlyn and Alyn Essman.  

The Essmans were grandparents to four MICDS students: Aliyah Taylor ‘08, Joshua Taylor, ‘11, Jordan Taylor ‘14, and Isabelle Essman ‘18, as well as two German exchange students, Jannis Topfer and Mayu Modler. The couple passed away last year, but not before instilling a great love for education in their family, and not without establishing a legacy of giving to the educational organizations that mattered most to them–including MICDS. This past December, the School received a very generous planned gift of more than $47,000 from the Essmans’ estate.

“Our parents gave to MICDS because they wanted to give other people the same opportunities their grandchildren had. They understood that there are a lot of people out there who don’t have the same opportunity to learn, and they wanted to change that.”

-Isabelle Essman
Daughter of Essmans

“Education was always a focus for our parents,” says Taylor. “When it came time for my husband, Todd, and me to send our kids to kindergarten, our parents told us they wished they had sent their children to an independent school. MICDS was a perfect choice because of the quality of the education, the class size and the caliber of the teachers,” she adds. “Our kids flourished there; our parents saw this and they wanted to support the School,” recalls Taylor.

“For them, the basis of everything was education,” says Taylor. “Our parents believed that the earlier you help a child, the better,” adds current MICDS parent Sharyn Essman.  

From left: Todd Taylor, Judy Taylor, Aliyah Taylor ’08, Mayu Modler, Jannis Töpfer, Marlyn and Alyn Essman (center), Bennett Essman, Josh Taylor ’11, Jordan Taylor ’14, Sharyn Essman and Isabelle Essman ’18.

Taylor describes how her parents supported their grandchildren’s interests. “Our dad created an economics course for our son, Jordan, and his cousin, Bennett, using Legos to represent different denominations of currency. He later presented this course as a seminar at both MICDS and Lift for Life Academy. Our mom, an art enthusiast, encouraged our daughter, Aliyah’s, interest in art school,” she says.  Jordan is studying Economics at Duke, Aliyah is pursuing her master’s in Art Education at Columbia, and Bennett is focusing on community service at Indiana University.

Essman remembers how her parents took a similar interest in Josh and Isabelle’s pursuit of music. “Our dad flew out to Los Angeles to meet the families of Josh’s musical allies,” she says. Now, with a business degree from the University of Southern California, Josh has been working as a professional musician. Meanwhile, Isabelle, currently in her junior year at MICDS, is a writer and a singer. “Our parents wanted to be involved in whatever the kids were involved in,” Essman recalls.

“Our parents gave to MICDS because they wanted to give other people the same opportunities their grandchildren had,” says Essman. “They understood that there are a lot of people out there who don’t have the same opportunity to learn, and they wanted to change that.”

We at MICDS are most grateful for Marlyn and Alyn Essman, their foresight, and the legacy they have created for generations of future MICDS students and faculty.  Their planned gift has been added to the unrestricted Endowment fund at the school, where it will benefit Student Access and Faculty Excellence–two areas that mattered most to these most generous and thoughtful grandparents.