Former music professor Elizabeth McKinney dies at 91
Elizabeth Richmond McKinney, former Southwestern music professor and wife of former dean of the School of Church Music James McKinney, died on Jan. 30 after a lengthy illness. She was 91.
McKinney was born on Dec. 8, 1927, in Oakdale, La., to Harold E. and Essie Almeda Seals Richmond. A musically talented child, she studied piano and earned her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in piano performance from Louisiana State University. She later earned a Master of Arts degree in piano pedagogy from Texas Woman’s University.
While at LSU, she met her future husband of 49 years, James C. McKinney, whom she married on Aug. 28, 1949, and who would serve as dean of the School of Church Music at Southwestern Seminary from 1956-1994. The couple moved to Fort Worth in 1950 when he first joined the seminary faculty as a professor.
From 1950-1967, Elizabeth taught piano at the seminary intermittently while maintaining a private piano studio and raising three sons. She joined the faculty full-time in 1967 and retired as associate professor of piano in 1993.
In addition to teaching private piano, class piano, and piano pedagogy, McKinney also supervised the Children’s Piano Lab program. Her former students serve as piano teachers and church pianists around the world. She was honored with a Distinguished Service Award from the School of Church Music in 1992.
An accomplished piano accompanist, solo and duo pianist, and church musician, McKinney accompanied the vocal recitals of her husband across the United States and Asia throughout her career. She accompanied Metropolitan Opera Soprano Irene Jordan on a concert tour of Nigeria in 1973, and won critical acclaim for her duo-piano recitals with Rhealene Stewart at the seminary and other institutions of higher education.
Active in professional and civic circles, McKinney was a member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers, the European Piano Teachers Association, the Fort Worth Piano Teachers Forum, the Fort Worth Music Teachers Association, the Euterpean Club, the Seminary Woman’s Club, the Southern Baptist Church Music Conference, and the Fort Worth Woman’s Club. She was also a dedicated church member who served in numerous capacities at Western Hills Baptist Church and Broadway Baptist Church. She loved serving others and working with children.
McKinney was preceded in death by her husband, James, and her brother, Wayne Richmond. She is survived by her sons James Jr., Timothy, and Kevin, and their wives; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 9, at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth.