Marjorie Koonce Neal died November 11, 2012 at the age of 84. She was born at Center, Shelby County, Texas, August 30, 1928 to Eli Koonce and Bessie Vail. She was a descendant of Elder James Carroll Koonce (1815-1889), who came to Shelby County, Texas from Tennessee via Louisiana.
Margie lived in several places in Texas -- including Center, Lufkin, Tyler and La Feria -- before moving to Riverside circa 1962. loved music. She was a member of the Janet Goeske Senior Center Choir, attended Sacred Harp singings, She also enjoyed working with ceramics. Marjorie is survived by a daughter, a son and daughter-in-law; 2 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren, and 6 "adopted" grandchildren. The funeral service was held on the 19th.
She regularly attended conventions and regional singings in Los Angeles and San Diego, as well as in Texas. Richard Russell wrote, "Margie will be remembered for adding a touch of Southern authenticity to our singings and for always leading her lessons in four beats with a graceful, relaxed style. I especially remember her leading Schenectady and The Last Words of Copernicus." Other songs she led include Shades of Night, (Cooper 192, 220, 112, 142) (Denson 61, 354b, 406).
I'll never forget her leading on the first day at the Southwest Texas Convention at McMahan in 2005. She called 517 (We'll Wear a Crown) and shocked me by pointing me out to pitch it (I wasn't even sitting on the front row). Later I would be interested to find in her 1927 edition Cooper Book a note penciled in at the top of this page (517) -- "On record in Washingon, D.C."
Margie is buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier, Los Angeles County, California.
From her obituary, and from Richard Russell