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Viola (Mitchell) Fearnside


Viola (Mitchell) Fearnside, age 91, on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2002, at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst, N.C. A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at POWELL FUNERAL HOME, Southern Pines, N.C. As Viola Mitchell, Mrs. Fearnside enjoyed a 40-year career as an internationally distinguished concert violinist. She was born July 11, 1911 in Pittsburgh to the late Dr. and Mrs. Atlee Mitchell. She began her career as a child prodigy and a student of Margaret Horn, one of Scotland's finest violinists. By the age of 10, she had already performed concertos with the Minneapolis Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra. From 1926 to 1929, she lived in Brussels where she studied with Eugene Ysaye, making her European debut at 16, performing in the presence of Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians. She often played chamber music with the Queen, who remained a lifelong friend. Mrs. Fearnside played concerts in Berlin and Paris over the next two years, returning to the United States in 1932, where she appeared with major orchestras throughout the country. She made her debut in Carnegie Hall accompanied by French pianist Andre Benoist. She also played in concert at the White House for President and Mrs. Franklin Roosevelt. She was considered one of the world's foremost violinists until 1959 when a sudden illness left her unable to perform, abruptly ending her career. In 1940, she married George Fearnside, a civil engineer. Following her retirement from the concert stage, the couple moved to Belgium, living there from 1962 to 1974. The Fearnsides moved to Southern Pines in 1974. Mr. Fearnside died in 1979. Surviving are her sister, Gladys (Mitchell) Kohl; nephews, Atlee and John Kohl of Dallas, Texas, her husband's nephew, Robert Fearnside of Prescott, Ariz; and a cousin, Charles Beuerham of Brentwood, Tenn.
Published in Pittsburgh Tribune Review on Oct. 11, 2002
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