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Colleen Madge Ebright


1918 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Colleen Madge Ebright Obituary
MADGE JUNETTE EBRIGHT June 1, 1918 December 24, 2014 Ebright was born on June 1, 1918 in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. She and her family moved to Eugene, Oregon after her father returnedfrom the war. Despite a bout with typhoid fever, Madge stayed entertained by classical music. And so as a child her love affair with music, and specifically the cello, began. "Why, music was my life, from beginning to end," Madge said. Early on, her cello playing was noticed and encouraged by teachers from intermediate school to the local university. She taught cello for eight years and planned to attend Juilliard School of Music in New York City when she graduated from high school. Unfortunately, her father died during her senior high school year and plans changed. Instead of a professional music career in New York, Madge attended the Universities of Oregon and Washington majoring in library science and music. She ended up teaching library research at the U. of Oregon. Madge was married twice and had two daughters and one grandchild. Her husband, Neale, was from California and had two sons and several grandchildren. Together they relocated to Los Angeles where she studied and earned a further degree in Library Science from USC in 1968. The couple retired and moved to Paradise in 1972 where they began to travel the world. "Wherever I traveled and I could borrow a cello, I would play in an orchestra. Madge played with symphonies in Germany, France, China, Japan and other countries during her travels. She played in the Paradise Symphony from 1972 until she retired in 2004. About the same time Madge noticed that there were no string programs in the Paradise schools. Band, yes, but no orchestras. So, she used a grant from the Jerome Foundation to entice the schools to add strings to their musical curriculum. By 2014 four Paradise schools and five teachers took part in Madge's string program. Three students now play in the Paradise Symphony Orchestra and the program continues to thrive. Madge had a ver active life in Paradise. She was one of four remaining active AAUW Paradise charter members when she passed away. The United Methodist Church in Paradise, where she was a long time member, now has The Madge Ebright Library. She had been a PEO member in LA and founded the chapter in Chico. The National PEO established a Madge Ebright Scholarship for students pursuing musical studies. She was a member of Mu Phi Epsilon in Sacramento, and she also belonged to Phi Delta Gamma in Torrance before starting a chapter in Chico. Madge passed away Christmas Eve at the age of 96. Before she died, she was asked how she would sum up her life. She responded, "When I die I can say to God, I've accomplished some of the plan you had for me." Madge never felt her work was truly finished. Madge was predeceased by her beloved husband, Neale, and her beautiful daughter, Gayla Stormer. She is survived by daughter, Jerri Johnson, stepsons Mitch Ebright and Jeff Ebright, grandchildren Scott Stormer, Lori Daybell, Kristen Mikami, Karen Ebright and Paxton Ebright, nieces and nephews, Kristie Chilcote, Kathryn Chilcote, Julie Thomson, Emilie Hard, John Thompson, Richard Duncan, Freeman Duncan, John Duncan, Duncan John Duncan, and 9 great-grandchildren. Passages taken from an article written by Carol Holzegrafe, AAUW President, and Marygrace Colby.
Published in Chico Enterprise-Record on Jan. 24, 2015
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