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Katherine Livingston "Kay" Schnitker

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Katherine Livingston "Kay" Schnitker Obituary
Katherine "Kay" Livingston Schnitker

NEW CONCORD: Katherine "Kay" Livingston Schnitker -- pianist, harpsichordist, educator, civic leader, wife and mother -- died Sunday, June 24, 2012, in New Concord, Ohio, her home since 1942. She was born to Corinne G. and Curtiss B. Livingston February 20, 1916, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Associate Professor Emerita of Music and Musician-in-Residence Kay Schnitker and her husband, Wilbur, came to Muskingum University in New Concord in 1942. She taught from 1943-49 and from 1968 until her retirement in 1980. She also served as special assistant to the president for a period. Following retirement, the couple continued to serve the university as goodwill ambassadors and in 1999 were awarded honorary doctorate degrees in recognition of their service.

Together, as duo-pianists, and separately the Schnitkers performed annual university concerts and throughout the midwest and eastern United States. Their artistic legacy has been preserved in recordings by a former student, Lee Weisert:

Kay's piano and harpsichord concerts included the Fine Arts Festival in Rochester, New York and the Put-in-Bay Festival in Ohio. She was well-known as an adjudicator and pedagogue and developed a technology to help keyboard students improve their sight-reading.

A Carthage College graduate with a master's degree from Northwestern University, Kay also studied with noted harpsichordists Dorothy Lane (Northwestern) and Louis Bagger (Eastman School of Music) and pianist/lecturer/author Arthur Loesser (Cleveland Institute of Music.)

Kay was a visionary civic leader who had an enduring influence on her community. She founded and led Community Services, a community-wide provider of food and assistance to home-bound residents; and Renew the Environment of New Concord (RENEW), which renovated the downtown and spawned many other village institutions, including the John and Annie Glenn Historic Site. She served on the board of directors of the Good Samaritan Hospital in Zanesville from 1976-87.

Kay was known for her hilarious sense of humor and many practical jokes on her friends and colleagues. She is survived by her daughter Mary Gifford (Grant) of Alpine, Utah. Her husband, Wib, preceded her in death in 2010.

Calling hours will be at Mock-Miller Funeral Home on Main Street, New Concord on Thursday June 28 from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm. A memorial service will be held at College Drive Presbyterian Church, New Concord at 11:00 am on Friday June 29.

Memorial gifts may be made to the music department at Muskingum University.

Published in the Times Recorder on June 27, 2012
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