The life and work of a pioneering Mountain Brook businesswoman were honored last month at the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce’s fourth annual luncheon.
Family members of the late Katherine McTyeire were on hand at the January event to accept the Robert S. Jemison Visionary Award on her behalf.
The Jemison Award is given by the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce each year to recognize those who have made significant contributions to the community.
McTyeire passed away at home on Dec. 18 at the age of 94.
Jean Clayton, owner of Christine’s and Bagatelle in Mountain Brook, presented the award.
Clayton said she first knew McTyeire as the founder of Iron Arts, Inc. The business started out in Southside before relocating to Mountain Brook Village.
“For 35 years, I would drive to work under the canopy of trees, and my eyes would wander over to Iron Art,” Clayton said. “During the time I knew Katherine, she was my go-to person for tough questions.”
Clayton said she and other Mountain Brook businesswomen often came to McTyeire for advice.
And McTyeire had plenty of experience to share with others, Clayton said.
McTyeire was the first woman to serve as a director for the Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau of Alabama and First National Bank of Birmingham, later AmSouth. She also was the first woman inducted into the Birmingham Kiwanis Club Business Hall of Fame and to join the Birmingham Rotary Club.
McTyeire was selected as a trustee at Birmingham-Southern College, where she was awarded an honorary law degree. She was appointed by the city of Mountain Brook to organize and chair the Emmet O’Neal Library board.
She served as co-chairman of the General Campaign of United Way of Central Alabama. She was president of the Women’s Committee of 100, the Junior League of Birmingham and Mercy Home, now Gateway.
McTyeire also helped organize the first merchants association of Mountain Brook.
“She led the way for women entrepreneurs and was a stalwart supporter of women in business,” Clayton said. “Thank you, Katherine, for showing us the way.”
McTyeire’s family members accepted the award on her behalf at the chamber event.
Kate Millhouse, McTyeire’s daughter, said her mother knew she had been chosen for the chamber honor and was “very honored she was receiving the award.”
“She’s here in spirit,” Millhouse said.