Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Gratitude and Remembrance

Tonight I learned that my flute teacher, Mary Roberts Wilson, is gone. One of the most amazing people I have ever known, this barely 5 foot tall elderly Welsh woman was one of my early life's greatest influences. A force to be reckoned with, to be sure... in her 80s she still walked 3 miles a day and did push ups. She could terrify me with her strictness, and often did when I had not practiced enough. I wanted so much to please her, and sometimes I did... Sometimes she was even proud.

"Music is in your soul, Jenny," she told me in college. I didn't believe her then, but have come to since. She knew more about me than I did myself. And I loved her.

Mary taught me to truly love music. She taught me to feel it. She pushed me to not be satisfied, but to demand excellence, and become what she believed I could be. And I was good.

I learned the news in the middle of Jay's band concert tonight and spent the rest of it with tears streaming down my face. I always thought I would somehow hear that she had passed and be able to make it to her celebration of life, to say goodbye. Four months too late, I never heard. So I grieved as I listened. And remembered. Years spent with a woman who shaped me in significant ways... It is not possible to forget her.

Dear Mary, how glad I am to know that you loved Jesus and I will see you again! Thank you for all that you gave to me. I can't wait for our next duet!

"To be born Welsh is to be born privileged, not with a silver spoon in your mouth, but music in your blood, and poetry in your soul."

Mary Elizabeth Wilson

Wilson, Mary Elizabeth (nee Roberts) Born July 29, 1916, to Ruel W. Roberts and Inez Taylor Roberts in Edgerton, Wisconsin. Passed away on June 6, 2014 in Spring Park, MN. Graduate of Minneapolis Central High School and Oberlin College of Ohio in flute performance. Preceded in death by husband, Gilbert Avery Wilson and brother, Arthur Roberts. Survived by sons, John Taylor Wilson and Richard Allen Wilson; grandchildren, Nelson Earl (Lisa) Wilson and Elizabeth Ann Wilson; great grandchildren; nieces and nephews and a lifetime of dear friends and musical colleagues. Mary was a noted instructor of flute at Macalester College, Augsburg College, Hamline University, College of St. Thomas, College of St. Catherine and Bethel College, as well as many private students. She served as a church organist and choir director and as Principle Flutist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Mary loved nature and especially enjoyed spending time with her husband and sons at the cabin they built on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Her warm, loving nature and friendliness will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her. Service of remembrance will be held on Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at Grace-Trinity Community Church, 1430 W. 28th St., Mpls., MN 55408. Visitation will be one hour prior to service at the church. Memorials preferred to Grace-Trinity Community Church.
Published on June 15, 2014