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Published: Saturday, 3/25/2006

Teacher of piano expected practice

Cecilia Fischbach, 108, who taught piano for more than 75 years, sometimes walking or taking the bus to students' homes, died Thursday in West Toledo Health Care, where she lived about 10 years.

She had not been ill, and the cause of death was not known, her daughter Margaret Mossing said.

"She just slept away. She wasn't hurting," her daughter said. Her 108th birthday was Jan. 19, and the nursing home threw a party for her.

Mrs. Fischbach of West Toledo retired from teaching about 15 years ago at 93. She began at 17. For years, she held winter and spring recitals for her students. When her daughters were young, they were featured playing piano pieces for six hands.

"She was happy when she was teaching," her daughter said. "It was her thing. She was not a socialite. She was serious."

And she demanded serious study from students. To students who wouldn't practice, she'd say, "●'You take this money back to your parents,'●" her daughter said.

She taught in her home and traveled to students' homes. For the first 33 years of her career, she walked or took a bus. She learned to drive at 50.

"She worked hard," her daughter said.

Mrs. Fischbach grew up in North Toledo and was a 1916 graduate of St. Ursula Academy. She began formal piano lessons at 7, but by then her grandmother had taught her to play by ear.

Mrs. Fischbach later received a diploma from Catholic University in Washington after completing a correspondence course in music theory.

She and her husband, Joseph, married in 1923. He died in 1980.

Surviving are her daughters, Rita C. Hayes, Regina M. Janowiecki, and Margaret C. Mossing; 13 grandchildren; 30 great-grandchildren, and eight great-great-grandchildren.

The body will be in the Blanchard-Strabler Funeral Home after 2 p.m. Monday, with a recitation of the Rosary at 7 p.m. Monday in the mortuary.

Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. Pius X Church, of which she was a founding member.

The family suggests tributes to the Cecilia Abair Fischbach Scholarship Fund at St. Ursula Academy.

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