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Elizabeth Richmond McKinney

December 8, 1927 - January 30, 2019

Memorial Service: 11:00 a.m. Saturday, March 9 in the Sanctuary of Broadway Baptist Church.  Interment will be private.

Memorials:  The James McKinney NATS Intern Fund or the church or charity of your choice.

Elizabeth Richmond McKinney, 91, passed away peacefully at home on January 30, 2019 after a lengthy illness.

Elizabeth Richmond McKinney was born on December 8, 1927, in Oakdale, Louisiana to Harold E. and Essie Almeda (Seals) Richmond.  A musically talented child, she studied piano and graduated from Oakdale High School.  She earned her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in Piano Performance from Louisiana State University, where she was granted a four-year scholarship upon entry and was awarded an additional scholarship for being named outstanding first-year music student.  Mrs. McKinney was a member of the honor societies Phi Kappa Phi and Delta Omicron (serving as president of the LSU chapter for the latter).  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, Dr. James C. McKinney, whom she married on August 28, 1949 and who would serve as dean of the School of Church Music at Southwestern Baptist Theological 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, she 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.  During a sabbatical year, she also taught at Hong Kong Baptist College and Hong Kong Baptist Seminary in 1971-1972.

An accomplished piano accompanist, solo and duo pianist, and church musician, throughout her career Mrs. McKinney accompanied the vocal recitals of her husband across the US and Asia.  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, she was a member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers, the European Piano Teachers Association, the Fort Worth Piano Teachers Forum (serving as president in 1990-1992), the Fort Worth Music Teachers Association (serving as president in 1992-1994), the Euterpean Club, the Seminary Woman’s Club, the Southern Baptist Church Music Conference (awarded an honorary life membership in 1994), and the Fort Worth Woman’s Club.  She also served on the Van Cliburn Foundation executive board in 1990-1992, and was a regular patron of the Cliburn Competition and Fort Worth performing arts organizations.  She was an adjudicator for the National Guild of Piano Teachers and numerous piano contests and hymn-playing festivals.

She was an ordained deacon and 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.  As “First Lady” of the SWBTS School of Music for nearly four decades, she was a consummate and gracious hostess, and a marvelous cook.  She was an Anglophile and treasured the sabbatical years and other time she and her husband spent in England.  She was an ardent admirer and collector of antiques, and was skilled in needlepoint and enjoyed crafting Christmas stockings for her family.  A world traveler, she relished taking the scenic route and especially delighted in vacations in her beloved Rocky Mountains.

She was preceded in death by her husband, James, and her brother, Wayne Richmond.

She is survived by three sons and their wives, James Jr. and Michele McKinney, Timothy and Cynthia McKinney, and Kevin and Greta McKinney; seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren (to whom she was Granny Liz), B.J. and wife Christina (children Ella, Clara, and William), Greg, Erin and husband Edward Gonzales (daughter Maribel), Brian, Christian, James and wife Emily, and Noelle.