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This rememberance begins with tribute articles originally posted on the web site where Mrs. Baxtresser's Debussy program was promoted.
Please check back. As 2010 advances, this site will be redesigned to provide a more complete chronicle of Mrs. Baxtresser's life.
Here is the beautifully written obituary by Elaine Guregian.
Akron pianist Margaret Baxtresser dies
Colleagues remember former Kent State instructor as ‘best of the
By Elaine Guregian
Beacon Journal music writer
Music was not just a profession for Akron pianist Margaret Baxtresser.
It was who she was, and what she gave to others.
Mrs. Baxtresser, 82, suffered a stroke Monday morning while exercising
in her physical therapy class. With her death Tuesday night at Akron
General Medical Center, “the cultural life of Akron has been
greatly diminished,” said friend Marcianne Herr.
Mrs. Baxtresser was respected for her musicianship and a concert career
that took her around the world. She taught piano at Kent State
University from 1966 until her retirement in 1991, and remained close to
her colleagues at Kent. Last winter, she traveled to New York to help
choose a new grand piano for the music school, and she was the featured
soloist at the dedication ceremony.
Mrs. Baxtresser had a knack for bringing people together and getting
things done. Former Tuesday Musical President Betty Sloan was impressed
that Mrs. Baxtresser, “the best of the best musicians, was willing
to get in there and work for the organization at the nitty-gritty
“Margaret worked so hard at everything she committed herself to.
That served as such an example to us. All of us were willing to go that
extra mile because Margaret went that extra mile,” said Barbara
Feld, a friend and colleague at Tuesday Musical for more than 20 years.
Mrs. Baxtresser motivated people by believing in them, said Feld,
general manager of Tuesday Musical. “She had such complete trust
and confidence in a person’s abilities. She knew you could do it.
She embraced us all like a mother.”
“I’ve never known anyone so generous with her talents and her
love,” said Herr, a former Tuesday Musical president. “She
gave everything she had. In return, she has the love of so many
Margaret Barthel was born June 10, 1922, in Detroit. She showed early
promise as a pianist and made her professional debut with the Detroit
Symphony Orchestra at age 13.
She performed with internationally recognized ensembles, including the
Chicago Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra. Her career took her to
such cities as London, Berlin and Amsterdam as well as to Japan, Korea,
Hong Kong, Malaysia and Vietnam for performances and master classes.
Locally, Mrs. Baxtresser performed as a soloist with the Akron Symphony
Orchestra. During the 1970s, she also was part of the Cuyahoga Valley
Arts Ensemble. In recent years, she had been a member of the Seneca
Trio, with Northeast Ohio violinist Marcia Ferritto and cellist Diane
Mrs. Baxtresser was a staunch supporter of the Akron Symphony and
Tuesday Musical and a member of Akron’s Friends of Music. She
presented many programs for children through the Children’s Concert
For decades, her home was the place where musicians and other artists
gathered. Often she hosted meetings of groups like Tuesday Musical.
When someone wanted to practice a recital program before presenting it
to the general public, Mrs. Baxtresser would invite a friendly group of
listeners to her West Akron home. If a musician or someone else
connected to the arts community was moving to Akron, Mrs. Baxtresser
held a reception to greet him or her.
The Baxtresser home was also the natural gathering place for fond
send-offs, like the one that Mrs. Baxtresser and friends held last month
for Herr as she prepared to move out of state.
Mrs. Baxtresser’s husband, Earl, died in 1991. She is survived by
daughter Jeanne Baxtresser (and son-in-law David Carroll); daughter
Suzanne Baxtresser (and son-in-law Steven Wangh); son Earl Baxtresser
(and daughter-in-law Judy Baxtresser); son Robert Baxtresser; foster
daughters Jane Davenport and Mary Davenport (and foster son-in-law
Thomas Lifson); and brother Lee Barthel (and sister-in-law Floy
A Celebration of Life will be at 7 p.m. Saturday at Westminster
Presbyterian Church, 1250 W. Exchange St., Akron. A reception will
follow. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the
Children’s Concert Society, 198 Hill St., Akron, OH 44325-0501.
Mrs. Baxtresser was vital to the end. Wednesday, she had planned to
attend a special luncheon where a music collection was to be passed on
to a promising young local musician. Friends at Tuesday Musical had
asked her to get involved in the effort because she had bequeathed her
own large collection to the music conservatory in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Last weekend, she attended a music and dance performance at the
University of Akron given by students at the Ohio Conservatory and the
UA Dance Institute. Dressed in a vibrant orange jacket, she was as
excited as if attending a concert by world-class performers.
“I wouldn’t have missed it,” she said then. That was
vintage Margaret Baxtresser. She wouldn’t, and she didn’t.