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Frances M. Bedford Endowed Music Scholarship, University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Life Story / Obituary
Frances Murray Bedford, 98, died April 6, 2023, in Caledonia, Wisconsin.
Frances was born at Murray Hill Farm near Oregon on September 17, 1924, to Avon Herschel and Mabel Jean (Milne) Murray. She graduated as valedictorian from the Oregon schools and received a B.S. in Music Education from the University of Missouri. She was a member of Mortar Board, honorary for senior women. She later attended American University, Washington, D.C. and Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, where she received a Master of Music degree in harpsichord.
On December 21, 1946, she married Emmett Bedford in Columbia and continued graduate studies while teaching as instructor in music at the University. After his graduation they lived in Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C., where he was a Washington newsman and member of the National Press Club and the White House Correspondent’s Association. As a result, the couple enjoyed several White House social engagements. Frances taught piano and was a supervisor of piano teachers in the Montgomery County (Maryland) schools, and later taught at Southern Illinois University. She retired as emeritus professor of music from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside after 24 years. Her long tenure of service and support of the Music Department resulted in the University naming the campus’s new performance hall, the Frances Bedford Concert Hall.
Her career included U.S. concert tours with her son, oboist Monte Bedford, as The Bedford Duo (harpsichord-oboe). They also played in cooperation with the U.S.I.A. for ambassadors and consulates in Europe, and later told many anecdotes of their performances during the 1980’s in eastern European countries behind the Iron Curtain, where concerts by Americans were almost never heard. One of their concerts triggered an advance bomb threat. The Duo commissioned and premiered a dozen new compositions written for them by various composers.
She has written four books, most notably “Harpsichord and Clavichord Music of the Twentieth Century,” and many articles and music reviews for professional journals. She was a member of the Midwestern Historical Keyboard Society and the Southeast Historical Keyboard Society and was harpsichordist with the Racine Symphony and the Waukesha Symphony Orchestra. She served on the boards of the Choral Arts Society and the Racine Symphony. Her genealogical interests resulted in “The McDonald-Milne Family”, a history of her maternal ancestors.
On May 24, 2003, she married Richard A. Outland of Racine. Survivors include her daughter, Shelley (Leon) Miller of Denver, sons Eric Bedford, Setauket, New York; Monte Bedford (Beverly Iverson), Central, SC, and stepdaughters Leslie Michelic, Appleton, WI and Lauren Outland, Inglewood, CA. She was preceded in death by her first husband Emmett on August 30, 2000, and by Richard on November 29, 2020.
Relatives and friends may meet Thursday, April 20, 2023, 5 to 7 pm. at Maresh Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home, Racine WI 53403. Burial will be in the Columbia Cemetery, Columbia, Missouri. Memorials may be made to the Frances M. Bedford Endowed Music Scholarship, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Kenosha, WI 53141.
A Celebration of Life is to be held at UW Parkside Ballroom, Sunday, May 28, 2023, 4 pm.
Reservations are required. RSVP deadline is May 17
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