In Memoriam

 

Anna Montgomery Farish
April 8, 1936-July 2, 2018
Member of Denton MTA

Anna Montgomery Farish, 82, of Denton passed away on July 2, 2018 in Denton. She was born on April 8, 1936 to Alvis David and Mary Lewis (Kimbrough) Montgomery) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was a graduate of Reidsville High School (NC) and East Carolina University where she double majored in Music and Business. She married Stephen Thomas Farish, Jr. in Greenville, NC on May 31, 1958. They had two children, Stephen David Farish and Virginia Kay "Viki" Farish Lozano.
For over 50 years, she taught music and piano, first at Les Mills Studios and the Selwyn School, and then for the vast majority of her professional life as owner/operator of the Anna Farish Studio. At various points in her career she was teaching over 150 students a week in private lessons, and she continued to teach until the week of her passing. In addition to the hundreds of students she taught over the years, she was perhaps best known for the work she did creating and leading the Denton Piano Ensemble Teams. For over 40 years she annually prepared and directed four teams (elementary, middle school, high school, and post-high school) of 20 piano students selected by competitive audition playing together as one team. Those teams were seen as the standard setters for piano ensemble performance. She was a member of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, the Denton Music Teachers Association (Past President), the Texas Music Teachers Association, and the Music Teachers National Association.
She is survived by her son, David Farish and his wife Melissa Farish of Flower Mound, sister, Mary Lou Oliver of Hot Springs, Arkansas and two grandchildren, Caroline Annyce Farish and Montgomery Cruz "Monty" Lozano, and many other extended family. She is preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Stephen T. Farish, Jr., daughter Viki Lozano, and her parents. 

 

Arnold Jerome Leondar
July 15, 1924-June 20, 2018
Honorary Member of Fort Worth MTA

Arnold Jerome Leondar, 93, artist – art educator, passed away Wednesday, June 20, 2018 in Fort Worth.  Memorial Service and Guest Reception: Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Biggers Funeral Home Chapel.
Arnold was born July 15, 1924 in New York City (Manhattan).  His parents were the late, Rose (Leondar) and Maurice Klein.  Arnold entered military service on January 6, 1943 at Camp Upton Long Island, NY where he accepted his oath of allegiance to the United States Constitution. He served as a soldier in World War II for 37 months from 1943 to 1946. Arnold’s Army career was in England, France and Okinawa; retiring as Staff Sargent. He proudly brought honor to the United States and enriched its beauty with his Professional Fine Art career.
Arnold studied with the following important American artists and professors of Art privately or at major Universities: Paul Honore, Peppino Mangravite, Oronzio Maldarelli, George Picken, Randall Davey, John Heliker, Kenneth Adams Dong Kingman, Raymond Jonson, Meyer Shapiro. He received a Bachelor of Science in Painting from Columbia University in 1951 and a Master of Arts in Painting in 1955 from University of New Mexico.  Arnold Leondar is represented in the following institutions by his artwork: Roswell Museum, Roswell, NM; University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM; Tarrant County College Northeast Campus, Hurst, TX; Beaumont Art Museum, Beaumont, TX; Houston Museum of Art, Houston, TX; Museum of the Southwest, Midland TX; Huston-Tillotson College Library, Austin TX; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX. and numerous private collections.
Arnold founded and directed the Midland Institute of Art from 1955 to 1965 in Midland, TX.  From 1968 to 1998, a professor of Art, he was Art Department chairman for Tarrant County College and contributed to the design and building of the Northeast Campus Art Department.
Arnold married June Marie Carthel in 1955 in Taos New Mexico. They had two sons; Brandt, a former Assistant Director of Bands at Grapevine High School, Grapevine TX and Morris, a Driver l Engineer l Public Educator for Grapevine Fire Department, Grapevine TX.  Since 1955, June and Arnold lived in Texas until his death, just three weeks shy of his 94th birthday. Arnold was preceded in death by his son, Brandt.
Arnold is survived by his wife of 63 years, June; son, Morris and wife, Kimberly; daughter-in-law, LuAnne; grandsons, Aaron and wife, Brooke, Andrew Leondar; granddaughter, Marissa Sauble and husband, Brent; great-grandsons, Halston and Kinsler.

 

Monte Hill Davis Alexander
May 24, 1932 – June 2, 2018
Member of Dallas MTA

Mrs. Alexander was born in Many, Louisiana on May 24, 1932. She was raised in Nacogdoches, Texas until the age of 12 at which time she moved to Denton, Texas to further her musical studies. She had a long and distinguished career as a concert pianist and piano teacher. She began her piano studies at the age of 5 with Mame Middlebrook, and, at the age of 9, appeared as a soloist with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, performing the Mozart D Major Concerto (The Coronation). In Denton, she continued her studies with Dr’s. Silvio and Isabel Scionti. She stayed in Denton through high school, and attended the University of North Texas; where in 1952 she earned a Bachelor of Music in Piano and in 1957 she earned a Master of Music in Piano. In 1963, she studied piano in London with Ilona Kabos. During this time she was touring and performing in the United States, Brazil, Peru, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. She has also made appearances performing with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops Orchestra directed by Arthur Fiedler, and the National Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Mrs. Alexander, known as Miss Davis to many of her students, taught piano at several different Texas colleges and for most of her adult life, taught piano students in her home. She is beloved by them to this day. In 1949, Mrs. Alexander won a Gold Medal in the G.B. Dealey Memorial Award competition in Dallas. She won the Silver Medal in the Geneva International Competition in 1952. In 1953, she entered the Ferrucio Bussoni International Competition capturing second place. Mrs. Alexander won first prize in the International Competition in Munich, Germany in 1955. Monte is also one of the several hundred designated Steinway Artists in the world. In 1953, she returned from Europe to America to marry Jack David Alexander. She was widowed in 1962, and is survived by her daughters, Monte Ann Mahrer and Katherine Lee, as well as her son-in-law Bryan Lee, and her grandchildren: Daniel Lee, Andrew Alexander Mahrer, Lauren Kimberly Mahrer, Bret Monte Mahrer, Ruth Roddy and her husband Curtis Roddy, and great granddaughter Reagan Roddy.

 

Mary Margaret Laakso
January 6, 1939 – May 11, 2018
Member of Arlington MTA and Fort Worth MTA

Mary Margaret Laakso, 79, of Crowley passed away Friday, May 11, 2018. Margaret was a lifelong piano teacher, public school music teacher, and retired from HUD of twenty years. She was a loving mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who loved all of her family. She loved teaching music, piano specifically. She loved to cook around the holidays and enjoyed spending time with her family. She had a selfless heart who treated all like family. She will be missed by all of her family and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband Richard, of 47 years; parents Henry, and Mary, and many in-laws and relatives. Margaret is survived by her sons, David Laakso and his wife Mary, Matthew Laakso and his wife Deana, Byron Laakso and his wife Amy; grandchildren, Nicki and her husband Dustin, Christina and her husband Destin, Hailey and her husband Dillon, Samantha and her husband Jon, Branden and his wife Christina, Berlynn, and Sophia; great-grandchildren, William, Destin James, Layla, Connor, and Eli.

 

Bobbie Badger
June 8, 1936 – May 9, 2018
Member of Mid-Cities MTA and Metroplex MTA

Bobbie Badger, of Colleyville, TX, passed away on May 9, 2018. She will always be remembered as a loving mother, sister, and friend to all that knew and loved her. She was born on June 8, 1936 in Birmingham, AL to Robert and Sara Patterson. Bobbie enjoyed sixty-four years of marriage to James Badger, teaching piano for well over 50 of those years. She was a devoted Christian and gave endlessly to others. Music, her faith, and service radiated from her heart and soul, enriching the lives of all who knew her. Bobbie is survived by her husband Jim, children Michael, Ann, and Mollie, four brothers and sisters, Peggy, Charlie, Jane, and Robert, and eight grandchildren whom she loved without bounds. There are no amount of words to describe the woman she was and the life she lived. Simply, Bobbie was an angel on Earth and has gone home. She will be dearly missed as a wife, mother, a friend, and of course as a Nana.

 

Betty Harden Shaw
July 25, 1931 – May 9, 2018
Member of Houston MTA and Forum MTA

Betty Joyce Harden Shaw entered heaven's gate on May 9, 2018. Born to Betsy and Foster Harden on July 25, 1931, she grew up in Ozark, Alabama. Betty's love for the Lord, passion for music, leadership, and commitment to learning lasted throughout her life. In her youth, she was active in church as a pianist, usher, Sunday school assistant, and choir member. In high school, she was a cheerleader; a class officer; and a member of the National Honor Society and Glee, Spanish, Latin and Drama clubs. Betty attended Wesleyan College in Georgia her freshman year and earned a bachelor's degree in Music from the University of Alabama in 1952. At Alabama, she joined Delta Zeta sorority and served as its vice president and Panhellenic Council representative. She was also an ROTC sponsor and a school newspaper reporter, and she was voted a class beauty. Her favorite activity in college was presenting free music programs to the community's orphanage, mental hospital and retirement homes. In 1954, Betty earned a master's degree in Music from Columbia University in New York. At Columbia, she worked extensively with Dr. Robert Pace in the Class Piano Program. She also completed courses at Julliard School of Music, the University of Southern California and Pasadena Playhouse. While in New York, she worked as a professional model. After Columbia, she became a representative for Carl Fischer Music Company and worked with colleges in New England. For more than a half century, Betty was a visible and highly-regarded force in Houston's music community. Channel 8 was America's first educational TV station, and the University of Houston College of Education pioneered broadcast learning in 1954. Dr. Walter Purdy and George Stout led the initiative to teach piano via TV, and Betty was invited to Houston to collaborate with them. She became a faculty member of the UH College of Education and Moores School of Music for 40 years, serving as the coordinator of Class Piano and Piano Pedagogy Departments. Betty also taught private piano lessons for 50+ years, and her students of every age frequently won local, state and national contests. She joined and served in leadership roles in Houston Music Teachers Association, Bayou City Music Club, Forum Music Club, Mu Phi Epsilon Music Club, Tuesday Music Club, TMEA, TMTA, MTNA, and AAUW. She often participated in workshops in public schools and musical organizations, and she reviewed college textbooks for several music publishing companies. Church remained central in Betty's life. At Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, she was a deacon and taught Sunday school for 27 years. She also served our community as a member of the Junior League of Houston. She genuinely enjoyed meeting people and learning about them, and time with her children and grandchildren gave her great joy. Her motivation in teaching was to inspire others to discover the same passion and fulfillment that she found through her Lord and her music. She believed that every student could enjoy playing the piano to his/her level of interest and ability. Her motto in life was, "Bloom where you are planted." She was a loyal, selfless, loving, smart, creative and fun mother, grandmother, friend, teacher and teammate. Betty joins in heaven her parents and her sister, Evelyn Harden Deese. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Jana and Mike Ames of Houston, TX; her son, Jason Edward Shaw of Dallas, TX; her son and daughter-in-law, Justin and Beth Shaw of Missouri City, TX; and her seven grandchildren: Michael and Katelin Ames and Jacob, Rivers and Skyler Shaw and Foster and Rachel Shaw.

 

Paul Josef Krystofiak
1958-2018
Member of Houston MTA

Son of Edward and Alice Krystofiak, deceased, of Princeton, Wisconsin, joined the choir of angels over the Easter holiday. Age 59 at Houston, Texas. Paul, a National Merit Scholar graduate of Princeton High School, excelled in music and furthered his education at Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI where in 1980 he was awarded his Bachelor Degree in Music in Piano Performance. Subsequently on a Fulbright grant, he traveled Europe and soloed in Warsaw, Krakow and Vienna. For several sessions he attended the Interlochen Arts Academy Summer Camp where he studied under Ruth Laredo. Other teachers include Rudolf Serkin, Andrzej Dutkiewicz and faculty from the Paris Conservatory and Julliard. In 1982 he enrolled in the University of Houston Moores School of Music Graduate Program studying under Abbey Simon, Ruth Tomfohrde, Nancy Weems and in 1985 was awarded a Master's Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy. In addition, he studied with Edgar Martin at the University of St. Thomas. In 1986 he commenced teaching at the University of St. Thomas. At UST, Paul taught piano, piano pedagogy and chamber music. For his many years of service as faculty sponsor of the Gamma Tau Chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon, a music honorary society at UST, he was honored with the "International Advisor of the Year" Award. Paul was also Director of the UST Music Preparatory School and began a series of music summer camps, including the successful Piano Camp that will celebrate its 30th year in 2018. Paul continued to teach at UST until his untimely passing. In 1990, Viterbo University awarded Paul the Distinguished Alumni Award for Excellence in Educational Achievement. In 2015 Paul was invited to participate in the World Piano Conference in Novi Sad, Serbia where he presented lectures and master classes as an artist clinician. Paul was very active in the Houston music community. He maintained a large private student roster, many of whom attended the high School for Performing and Visual Arts, with some students participating in master classes at the University of Houston International Piano Festival led by Abbey Simon. A member of Houston Music Teachers Association, he was elected President for an unmatched three terms (1990-96). In 1993 the HMTA awarded Paul "Teacher of the Year". He was also a founding member of the Chopin Society of Houston and Houston Young Artists Concerts. In addition, Paul taught at the Houston Conservatory of Music that he helped to merge with UST Music Department. Paul leaves a brother, James E. Krystofiak and wife Ronda, a nephew Christopher, and niece Mary, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, an aunt, Joan Kalupa of Houston, an uncle, James Kalupa and wife Alice of Palm Bay, Florida, and many friends, colleagues and students. Paul enjoyed educating and sharing his love for music and will be deeply missed.

 

Jeanine Meinecke Griggs
March 11, 1942 – April 10, 2018
Member of Amarillo MTA and Austin District MTA

Jeanine Meinecke Griggs, 76, passed away peacefully in her home on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. She was born on March 11, 1942 in Plainview, Texas to Myrl and Truman Meinecke. She attended Highland Elementary, Ash Junior High, and was a proud member of the Plainview High School Band. Music was always a huge part of her life, and she met her soon-to-be husband, Wayne W. Griggs, at band camp in 1958. They were married in the chapel at West Texas State University in 1959 and remained devoted to one another for 58 years. Jeanine attended West Texas State University and Texas Tech University and majored in piano pedagogy. For most of her professional career, she taught piano in Amarillo, Texas and was a 35-year member of the American and Texas Music Teachers' Associations. Jeanine wrote arrangements for piano ensembles and led students to perform across the state. Although she would go on to succeed in many other areas of life, teaching was her heart, and many of her students became like family to the Griggs'. After teaching, Jeanine went on to become a successful farmer and rancher. She was proud owner of the Flying M Ranch in Stead, NM, and had properties in Olton and Falls County, Texas. Jeanine was co-founder of Founders Vision Republican Women and Republican Women's PAC and worked to help elect conservative legislators and fight for traditional values and for the rights of the unborn. Over the years Jeanine was recognized for her work by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Travis County Republican Party, and the Republican Party of Texas, being named Volunteer of the Year in 1997. Above all else, Jeanine was a devoted Christian and loving mother, wife, and grandmother. She is survived by her husband, Wayne Griggs, of Pflugerville, Texas; daughters Evona Hartzell of Nicholasville, KY and Devora Griggs of San Antonio, Texas; sister Betty Sue Boyd of Warr Acres, OK; grandchildren David and Elessa Hartzell of Nicholasville, KY, and great-grandson Devon Ward, also of Nicholasville. Her legacy of love lives on through her children, grandchildren, and through the work of charities dear to her heart.

 

Susan Kathleen Vaughan
November 23, 1947 – March 8, 2018
Member of Plano MTA

Member of Plano MTA Susan Kathleen Vaughan, 70, a resident of Madison, SD, formerly of Denton, peacefully passed away at home surrounded by family and loved ones in the early morning of March 8, 2018 after a long, brave battle with pancreatic cancer. She was born on November 23, 1947 in Waynesville, Missouri to Kenneth and Fay Vaughan and moved to Aberdeen, SD as an infant. Susan grew up in Aberdeen, attending public schools there and graduating from Central High School. She attended Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, SD as a Presidential Citation Scholar where she attained degrees in choral music and piano performance. She also studied drawing and painting. Susan then completed master's degrees in music education and piano performance at Texas Woman's University. A high-achiever, she subsequently was awarded a master's degree in art education, and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Minnesota, and after that an MBA from the Carlson School of Management also at the University of Minnesota. For nine years Susan taught music and art at Hibbing and Lakewood Community Colleges in Minnesota. Later, she served for 16 years as Minnesota State Fine Arts Specialist. Throughout her life Susan taught piano to children and adults in her private studio, teaching traditional and Suzuki methods. Additionally, she appeared as a concert pianist in many public performances. Susan moved in 1996 with her family to New Mexico, and in 1999 to Galveston, Texas. In Galveston she founded the Galveston Island Arts Academy, the Galveston Island Children's Chorus, and the Galveston Suzuki Academy. Also, she served on the board of the Galveston Symphony Orchestra. Susan taught at elementary and middle schools in Galveston and in Houston and served as fine arts manager for secondary education for the Houston Independent School District. In 2014 Susan moved with her family to Denton where she founded the Denton Suzuki Academy, a private piano studio. She was president of the North Texas Area P.E.O. Council, a women's service organization; was vice regent for the Benjamin Lyon Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution; was a member of the Ariel Music Club and secretary of the Denton Woman's Club. A talented visual artist, Susan was appointed to the Denton Public Art Committee, and was a member of the Visual Arts Society of Texas. She also was a member of the Plano Music Teachers Association and was a longtime member of the American Association of University Women. Susan was proud to have taken part in the anti-fracking movement in Denton. Susan is survived by her husband, Michael Hennen, son Vaughan (a librarian at Dakota State University in Madison, SD), brothers Kenneth Douglas Vaughan of Juno, Alaska, and Philip Lincoln Merrell Vaughan of Pequot Lakes, Minnesota.

 

Beatrice Nilsson Carney
September 20, 1918-January 28, 2018
Member of Dallas MTA and Southwest Dallas MTA

Beatrice Nilsson Carney, age 99, died January 28, 2018 in Bentonville, Arkansas. She was born in New York City on September 20, 1918, the daughter of Harry Charles Nilsson and Beatrice Robb Nilsson. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 67 years, Hugh William Carney, in 2008. She is survived by two sons, William Nilsson Carney and his wife Virginia, James Nilsson Carney and his wife Rita, and one daughter, Susan Carney Earls, as well as four grandchildren: Laura Smyczek and her husband Ron, Kevin Carney and his wife Kim, Michael Carney, and Sarah Busch and her husband Kyle; and four great-grandchildren: Sophie Claire Smyczek, Audrey Grace Smyczek, William Xavier Smyczek and Alexandrea Susan Carney. She is also survived by her sister Eileen Mundy, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Her sisters, Mona and Melba, and her brother Harry preceded her in death. Bea Carney taught piano in Dallas for over 30 years. She created Bea’s Music Teaching Aids, and was a popular workshop presenter. She was a member of the Dallas Music Teachers Association, the Southwest Dallas Music Teachers Association and the alumni chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon at Southern Methodist University. For many years, when Bea lived in Dallas, she volunteered in the neo-natal intensive care unit at Parkland Memorial Hospital and with the VNA Hospice Program, along with her husband. Bea will be greatly missed by her family and numerous friends, including Patty Beach, Barb Ryan and Sharon Murphy, her beloved Blue Birds and Camp Fire Girls.

 

Mary David Allen
April 14, 1930 – July 3, 2017
Member of Richardson MTA and Greater Dallas Group MTA

Mary David Allen of Dallas, age 87, died on July 3, 2017. She was born on April 14,
1930, in Columbia, South Carolina, to H. C. and Mary Peele Ritter. In 1951, she
received her B.S. degree in piano pedagogy from Columbia College, Columbia, South Carolina. For two years, she taught piano in the preparatory department of Columbia College and thereafter taught piano in Connecticut, England, and Dallas for over fifty years. She was active in the Richardson Music Teachers Association and in the Greater Dallas Group Music Teachers Association. She was preceded in death by her parents and her brothers William W. Ritter and James C. Ritter. She is survived by her loving husband of sixty-three years of marriage, Joseph L. Allen; son, Robert B. Allen, his wife, Lina Daria Allen, and their daughter Isa Allen, of Idabel, Oklahoma; daughter Joyce Jablinski and her wife Barbara Begeman of Dallas; sister, Daisy Ritter Rippy of Nashville, Tennessee, and many other beloved extended members of the family. Mary David was a gentle and perceptive person. She loved to travel, read mysteries, lunch with friends, and attend symphonies, theater, and SMU women's basketball games. She greatly appreciated her many friends, the care she received during her years as a resident of Highland Springs retirement home in Dallas, as well as the excellent care she received from the staff of Medical City of Plano.

 

Rose Mary Ramaekers
March 12, 1934 – June 9 2017
Honorary Retired Member of Amarillo MTA

Rose Mary Ramaekers was born March 12, 1934, in Groom to Leonard and Alma Herzog Conrad. They moved to Nazareth in July 1948. She graduated valedictorian of her class from Nazareth High School in 1951 and attended music school in St. Louis that summer. She married Vincent Ramaekers on Sept. 16, 1952, and moved to Umbarger, where they raised their five children. She attended West Texas State University, where she received a Bachelor and Masters of Education degrees. She taught a variety of classes at the elementary level for Canyon Independent School District from 1969 to 1994, after which she was an instructor of music methods classes at WTAMU and taught private piano lessons. She was involved in music ministry at Catholic churches in Nazareth, Littlefield and Umbarger for more than 60 years.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Vincent Ramaekers; her parents; a grandchild, Nicole Scott; and a grandson-in-law, Kendrick Powell. Survivors include her children, Henry Ramaekers and wife Linda Jo of Canyon, Debbie Wieck and husband Kenneth of Colorado Springs, Colo., Elaine Scott and husband John of Amarillo, Sharon Rainwater and husband Randy of Floydada and Linda Byrd and husband Robert of Amarillo; 16 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; her siblings, Mitzie Brockman and husband Cyril of Nazareth, Ted Conrad and wife Jeannie of San Angelo, Colette Hoelting and husband LeRoy of Colorado Springs, Suzie Bacon and husband Howard of Amarillo, Tom Conrad and wife Brenda of Colorado Springs and Angie Venhaus and husband Clyde of Canyon; various in-laws; and numerous nieces and nephews.