TUPELO – Beth Rieves McAuley, 72, died Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, at her residence after an extended illness. She was born on Oct. 6, 1941, in Memphis to James Franklin Rieves Jr. and Marybeth Kuhn Rieves. She grew up in Marion, Ark. At the age of 8 she was afforded the opportunity to study piano at Southwestern (now Rhodes College) Preparatory School of Music. After high school she married her childhood sweetheart, Malcolm Deaton McAuley Jr., and moved to Jackson to continue her university studies with Belhaven. While her husband pursued a medical degree, she earned a B.A. degree from Mississippi College.
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Medicine and music led her to Birmingham, where she earned from Samford University her major in music education and piano performance. In the late 1970s Beth moved to Tupelo, where Malcolm joined the Ear, Nose and Throat Medical Group.
Shortly after moving to Tupelo, Beth joined Fortnightly Musicale and soon afterwards became president of that group. Under her leadership, the second ecumenical concert in Tupelo history took place in December 1982 at the city's First Baptist Church. The president held her spirit high as she welcomed the Uniformed Armed Forces who bore the American, Israeli, Christian and state flags, recognizing the theme of the concert: "Peace and Good Will to Men."
She has worked on many projects where proceeds went to music scholarships. She has chaired musical projects at her church, First Presbyterian, and has chaired chairmanship of Fortnightly Musicale's Music Tour of Homes since 1990.
Music is the universal language and Beth is always thinking of ways to do more for music education. She has given of her time, hosted events in her home and given financially for this purpose. She has served locally, in the state and nationally to further music education. She volunteered her time to give piano lessons for girls in a group home in Tupelo.
Beth has served Mississippi as its state president and was elected by the Mississippi Federation of Music Clubs to represent the state on the National Federation of Music Clubs Board. After serving 14 years, Beth retired from that office and was elected to the National Board as a Member at Large. She also was elected Southeast Regional Vice President. Under her tenure as vice president, she coined the phrase "Bucks for Brevard."
Beth was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in February 2007. With these health issues her work has been prioritized. She gives the Lord, her savior Jesus Christ, all the credit for providing the strength for what He deems necessary.
She remained very active in the National Federation of Music Clubs up until her death. She wrote and published a children's book dedicated to her grandchildren titled "Scout the Pony."
In honor of his beloved wife of more than 55 years, Malcolm established the Beth McAuley Music Scholarship with CREATE Foundation for students who have a desire to make music their life's profession.
We honor this lovely, outstanding lady with her courage, her talents and her beliefs! She has touched thousands of lives with her beautiful smile and her willingness to go that extra mile!
Services will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 9, at First Presbyterian Church of Tupelo with Dr. Tom Groome, Dr. Ron Richardson and the Rev. Carson Overstreet officiating. Burial will be in the McAuley family cemetery in Holly Springs. Tisdale-Lann Memorial Funeral Home in Nettleton will be in charge of the arrangements.
Survivors include one daughter, Marybeth McAuley Ross (Alex) of Madison; three sons, Malcolm D. "Mac" McAuley III (Dawn), Dr. James R. McAuley (Kim) and Dr. Robert T. McAuley (Michelle), all of Tupelo; two sisters, Frances R. Wallace (David) of Crawfordsville, Ark., and Jimmie Pet Walker (Billy) of Dyersburg, Tenn.; and 12 grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; and one sister, Roberta Kuhn Rieves.
Pallbearers will be Rob McAuley, Deaton McAuley, James R. McAuley, David Wallace, Jimmy Wallace, John Wallace, York Walker and Jeff Reeder.
Honorary pallbearers will be the members of her supper club.
Visitation will be Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Tupelo.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Beth McAuley Music Scholarship in care of CREATE Foundation, 213 W. Main St., Tupelo, MS 38804.
Family and friends may sign the guest registry and send condolences to www.tisdalelannmemorial.com.
Published in Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal from Dec. 6 to Dec. 7, 2013
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