Medill, H. Barbara
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97, of Scottsdale, passed away July 12, 2013. Born July 5, 1916 in Denver, Colorado, she was the first daughter of Hester Ann Donley Miles and John Francis Gordon Miles. Barbara began taking piano lessons at the age of 5 and won the Colorado state piano contest at the age of 15. She was a member of the East High Acappella Choir because of her perfect pitch and beautiful voice. At 17, she began pipe-organ lessons and studied voice with Foster and Greta Why from New York. Barbara married Malcolm Spry Medill on May 26, 1940. They moved to San Francisco where Malcolm was stationed in the Navy and she worked as a teller for Bank of America. In 1944, while Malcolm was overseas, Barbara returned to Denver with their new baby, David Gordon. In 1947, she helped Malcolm and his brother Leighton start Medill Sales Company, manufacturer's representatives. She and Leighton's wife Margaret continued working with Medill Sales Company until 1959 when the family moved to Phoenix. In Phoenix, they became active in the El Zaribah Shrine and Ladies' Oriental Shrine. In 1960 she began directing Chanters Singing Group and was asked to be the Grand Musician. During this time she played the organ at the services for many local and Prescott Valley churches. In 1971 she became the High Priestess of the Sphinx Court and was asked for the 4th time to be Grand Musician. In 1973 Gordon joined his father in business and they became MGM Sales. In 1977, a beautiful daughter-in-law, Laura, was added to the family; in 1978 the first grandchild, Kevin Scott was born and in 1980 the second grandchild, Christopher Ryan. In 1975 Barbara joined the Egyptian Bells singing group, still playing organ and piano. In 1992 she was asked to be Grand Musician for the 9th time. She began playing organ for the Phoenix Blind Center and did so until she could no longer read the notes due to macular degeneration. Years later Barbara joined the Greeters Unit of Ladies' Oriental Shrine and in 2010 she received her 50-year pin for her services. Barbara will be greatly missed by her son, Gordon, his wife Laura, their son Christopher; and three nieces, Cozette Matthews, Sandra Maul and Ann Young and their families. She was preceded in death by her husband Malcolm, their grandson Kevin and her only sister Mary Ann. Her motto in life was: Life is like a piano-what you get out of it depends on how you play it. A Memorial Service will be held at 10:00 a.m. Friday, July 19th in the Mausoleum at Paradise Memorial Gardens, 9300 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale. Contributions would be welcomed by
, 1510 E. Flower Street, Phoenix, AZ 85014 or Shriners Hospitals for Children, 3160 Geneva Street, Los Angeles, CA 90020.
Published in The Arizona Republic on July 17, 2013