Kathryn Lois McCoy (Katie), age 95, died Aug. 15, 2019 at Grant Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, after a brief illness.
Born Oct. 29, 1923, in Peebles, Ohio, one of two children of the late Floyd E. McCoy and Clara Mae McCoy, she is survived by her brother James, 89 years old.
She was preceded in death by her sister-law, Joan Wittenmyer McCoy, wife of James, and by her dearest friend and colleague, Mary Jane McKinley.
She was a 1941 graduate of Peebles High School (class Valedictorian) and graduated from Capital University in Columbus in 1948 with a Bachelors Degree in their School of Music (Cum Laude). She later received a Masters Degree in Music Education at Ohio University in 1962 (with honors).
Katie was a music legend in southeast Ohio. She was a pioneer in teaching instrumental music when very few other women served as school band directors in the early 1950’s. Katie taught a total of 31 years, the last at Nelsonville Middle School, or Junior High School. Prior to teaching at Nelsonville, she was band director at Chauncey-Dover High School, where her band received several Superior ratings in state competition, and her band was considered to be outstanding in marching and dancing. Her band was one of the first to incorporate dance steps while marching to tunes such as Band Jive and Boogie Woogie Band. For her musical excellence, she was inducted into Phi Beta Mu, the National Band Masters Fraternity.
The partnership of Katie McCoy and Mary Jane McKinley spanned more than 60 years, sharing their gift of music, leadership and service to the community. As Director of Bands at Nelsonville Junior High, or Middle School, Katie sent many fine musicians each year to Nelsonville-York High School where they became Mary Jane’s pupils. The firm musical foundation Katie established with her students going forth significantly helped Mary Jane as her bands received many Superior ratings in district contests and state contests, and her solo and ensemble students participated in 40-50 contests per year receiving Superior ratings 96 percent of the time.
Katie and Mary Jane organized the Nelsonville Community Band known as Mac’s Bandits, and they were active in Berean Community Theater where they produced Broadway musicals such as The Music Man and Oklahoma. They were also involved in the restoration of, and the resurrection of performance at Stuart’s Opera House and the Museum of Theatrical History, Inc. Katie was honored to be designated as Board Member Emeritus of Stuart’s Opera House. Board member Carol Ault stated that “Katie and Mary Jane were an amazing duo who through their energy, vision, love of music and community, brought great good to the community and laid the cornerstone of the Stuart’s Opera House education program.” Executive Director Tim Peacock said the he loved it when Katie was on the board, and that she always made him laugh and smile.
Katie served as choir director for 50 years at Nelsonville Methodist Church, and she and Mary Jane organized ecumenical choirs representing up to 15 churches to perform concerts for the community. Katie received the Roland Pierce Citizenship Award and the Nelsonville Chamber of Commerce R. Victor Oakley Award. The choir room at her church is named in honor.
The Nelsonville-York High School Band, Boosters and Alumni commissioned composer James Swearingen to create “In Times of Triumph,” dedicated to Katie and Mary Jane for their many years of service to music education. It premiered on May 21, 2002 by the NYHS band and alumni, and was dedicated to these women and to the resolve of individuals around the world who seek to achieve goals, and as a result, make a better place for all.
Katie was an excellent bowler and one of the top ones at the MidNiteInn Lanes. She was a team member of the very successful SEO ladies championship teams for many years. Although she was a better bowler, she loved golf and worked very hard to improve. She stayed at it into her 80’s and finally ended up a champion golfer, earning medals in the National Senior Olympics among other awards.
Into her 90’s, she continued as a vital member of her church, and enjoyed the weekly euchre club at the library. She cared for people in need and all God’s creatures (mostly cats!). She stayed in touch with old friends and continued to make new friends. She was quite the lady to the end, and our Heavenly Father will be pleased to receive her to her new home!
Those who may wish to honor Katie in lieu of flowers may do so by contributing to the Katie McCoy and Mary Jane McKinley Music Scholars Fund at First United Methodist Church, 205 W. Columbus Street, Nelsonville, OH 45764, or to the Stuart’s Opera House, 52 Public Square, Nelsonville, OH 45764.
The Nelsonville funeral will be held at the Nelsonville Methodist Church and managed by the Warren Brown Funeral Home Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, with visitation and viewing from 10 a.m. to noon and the funeral service at noon.
The funeral in Peebles will be held at the Wallace Thompson Funeral Home Monday, Aug. 26, with visitation and viewing from noon to 1 p.m. and the funeral service at 1 p.m.
Burial will be at Locust Grove Cemetery at around 1:45 p.m.