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Published: Friday, 7/1/2005

Wauseon musician was friendly, outgoing

WAUSEON Elizabeth C. Betty Edgar, a church organist whose music touched the lives of many area residents, from high school students to nursing home patients, died Tuesday at Villa Angela Care Center in Columbus following complications from surgery for a brain aneurysm. She was 86.

Mrs. Edgar was the organist and pianist at Christ United Methodist Church for many years, and with her late husband, George, operated the former Edgar Funeral Home.

She was friendly and outgoing and one of those people who never knew a stranger, Mary Gardner, her daughter, said. She had a gentle, positive nature for people of all ages.

Born in Toledo, Mrs. Edgar was 5 when she moved with her parents to Wauseon, where her father ran a dairy farm. A 1936 graduate of Wauseon High School, she attended the former Lina C. Keith Music School in Toledo, then returned to Wauseon where she taught classical piano for more than a decade.

For a time she was the organist at First Congregational Church in Wauseon. Then in the early 1950s she became the pianist and later the organist at Christ United Methodist Church.

Occasionally she accompanied solo performers giving music performances at Wauseon High School.

Until she became ill earlier this year, Mrs. Edgar and a friend, Helen Zimmerman presented musical programs for some two decades at senior centers and nursing homes, sometimes traveling to perform in Swanton, Delta, and Archbold.

Their music often involved songs familiar to the holidays, the changing seasons, or popular tunes of the past, her daughter said.

They played piano duets and Helen would sing, Ms. Gardner said. They had programs for every holiday. Besides music, they did readings and recited poems.

Music often capped a family gathering, with Mrs. Edgar playing the piano or organ with friends and relatives.

She and her husband were named Wauseon s Citizens of the Year in 1991.

She was a member of the Wauseon Women s Club, the Northwest Ohio Music Teachers Association, and the Wauseon chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Her husband, George Edgar, died in 2000.

Surviving are daughters, Mary Gardner and Carol Burkett; four grandchildren, a step-granddaughter, and four great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at Christ United Methodist Church. The body will be in the Edgar-Grisier Funeral Home after 2 p.m. today.

The family suggests tributes to Christ United Methodist Church.

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