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 Marie <I>Patten</I> Smith

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Marie Patten Smith

MARIE PATTEN SMITH A resident of Budd Terrace at Wesley Woods, died October 16, 2003. She was born in Adel, GA, raised in Tifton, GA, and lived the rest of her life in Atlanta. Marie studied piano and organ at Wesleyan College, The Eastman School of Music and The New England Conservatory School of Music. She served as pianist and choir director of Haygood United Methodist Church followed by a 21 year career as Minister of Music at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church and Organist for Emory University. In 1955, she organized and directed the first Emory Women's chorale. She retired in 1965. She remained active the next 15 years volunteering her services to churches as organist and choir director. She taught piano and organ for many years. She was a long time member of The American Guild of Organists and served as Dean of the Atlanta Chapter from 1952-54. She was predeceased by her husband, Bayne C. Smith (1896-1980); daughter, Caronelle Smith Landiss; three brothers and one sister. She is survived by a daughter, Sara Deane Smith Merritt, and husband Ed; grandchildren Colby (Bob) Landiss, Julie Landiss Rayford, Ed Merritt III, Mark Merritt and Nancy Merritt Proctor; nine great-grandchildren and three sisters. She requested her body be given to Emory University School of Medicine. A memorial service will be held in the Glenn Memorial Chapel on Tuesday, October 21st, at 3:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, those who wish, may make a donation to your place of worship or charity of your choice.

* * * * * Obituary Article * * * * *

Piano lessons at age 7 launched Marie Smith on nine decades of making music.

Reared in Tifton and trained at two of America's most prestigious music academies, the Eastman School and the New England Conservatory, Mrs. Smith had an especially productive period in her career from the mid-1940s through the mid-1960s.

During that span, she joined the music staff of Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church on the Emory University campus and went on to become its minister of music, organist, director of adult and children's choirs and founder of its bell choirs.

She also was the official organist for Emory University, performing at graduation exercises, convocations and other campus events.

Emory went coeducational in 1953, and two years later university officials asked Mrs. Smith to direct the newly formed Women's Chorale. As she told the Druid Hills News in a 2000 interview, "They said, 'You're already here --- you take the girls.' "

"Marie was so encouraging and inspiring as a chorale director and as my accompanist," said Mary Emma McConaughey of Atlanta, the Women's Chorale's first soloist. "She seemed to have contacts everywhere. She took the chorale on tour and was my piano accompanist throughout the Southeast."

The memorial service for Mrs. Smith, 99, of Atlanta is 3 p.m. today (October 21, 2003) at Glenn Memorial Chapel. She died of a stroke Thursday at Budd Terrace. She donated her body to the Emory University School of Medicine.

After she retired from Glenn Memorial in 1965, she volunteered as organist and choir director for many small Methodist churches across metro Atlanta that couldn't afford a paid music minister, said her son-in-law, Ed Merritt of Jasper.

Late in life, she returned to Glenn Memorial.

"She was a beloved member of our Sunday school class," said Dr. Judson Ward of Atlanta, former vice president at Emory. "She played piano for us while we sang favorite hymns. She was so joyous."

It also was an opportunity for her, after turning 90, to relax and even jazz up some starchy old hymns, she said in an Emory alumni publication interview.

"I played classics all my life. I've worked at it. I taught it. Now that I don't have anybody to judge me, I can just sit down and mess it up," she said.

Survivors include a daughter, Sara Merritt of Jasper; three sisters, Bill Merritt of Richmond and Helen Rainer and Virginia Patten, both of Tifton; five grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her late husband Bayne Carlton Smith (1896-1980) and daughter Caronelle Smith Landiss.


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  • Created by: Tim Oliver
  • Added: 18 Oct 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 78674258
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Marie Patten Smith (28 Feb 1904–16 Oct 2003), Find A Grave Memorial no. 78674258, citing Decatur Cemetery, Decatur, DeKalb County, Georgia, USA ; Maintained by Tim Oliver (contributor 47625525) .