Pauline Shurtz died on September 4 at the age of 104. She was born on June 25, 1917, in West Lafayette, a town of fewer than 900 people at the time.
She studied piano at Wooster College, where she graduated in 1938, and later studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music under a pupil of Franz Liszt. As a young woman, she was part of a trio called The Melody Three, who performed at local events and on the radio. They sang three-part harmony (like the Andrew Sisters) and played guitars.
She was the organist at the Presbyterian church in Coshocton during WW II and later the organist at Saint John’s Church on Orange Street from 1950 until 1975. During a more than 40 year career, she gave piano and organ lessons to “it seemed (she said) like half the children in Coshocton.” She also played for several hundred weddings and funerals, gave concerts, and accompanied dozens of musicians—singers, violinists, and even a whistler and a harmonica player. Most memorably, she gave a series of yearly concerts with an opera singer, Ruth Ann Moore, who retired to Coshocton from New York City.
She married Hubert Shurtz in 1946 after he was released from over three years in a Japanese prison camp. He was a Lt. colonel when he was declared missing in action in Korea in 1951. She never remarried. From 1978 to 2018 Pauline spent most of the year at her Florida home on St. Pete Beach. She also spent several months a year at her vacation home in Almira, Oregon.
She was a member of half a dozen clubs in the 1950s and 60s, a time when Coshocton seemed to have 100s of clubs and civic organizations.
She loved mystery novels, bridge, travel, and dogs, but mostly she loved music. She said recently that she would gladly live her life over again and not change a thing. She is survived and will be much missed by a son, Stephen from Washington, DC; and a daughter, Nancy from Eugene, OR; and by two grandchildren, Katie, and Alex.
Burial of Pauline’s cremated remains will take place in Fairfield Cemetery, West Lafayette at a later date.
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