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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Dream come true—with 64 years at organ

Edith Roe can remember looking across agricultural fields through the window of her high school at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Cordova, Md., and hoping one day she could play organ there. That wish became a reality — and remained a dream fulfilled for more than 60 years.

Beginning as a vacation substitute and taking over full time nine years later, Roe, now 81, is coming to the end of her 64-year journey as St. Paul’s organist. She has served with 11 pastors and played music and settings from five different hymnals. 

“I’m a little country girl,” Roe said. “I took piano lessons, but nobody taught me to play organ. I taught myself by ear. The first organ St. Paul had was a manual organ like a lot of people had in their homes, with two pedals. There was a mouse that used to come out and sit on his hind legs, looking around, listening. Of course, even with it there, I had to keep playing.”

Roe planned to retire in 1987 but relented to the continued requests for her services.

“Her music is an uplifting experience,” said Gwen Smith, a member since 1978. “The church truly appreciates her. We will miss her talent.”


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