Barbara Elder

Obituary of Barbara L. Elder

Barbara Benefiel Elder, age 88 of Tulsa, OK, entered eternal life Thursday, July 23, 2020, at St. John’s Hospital, Tulsa, OK. Barbara was born September 3, 1931, in Coffeyville, Kansas to Winifred and James H. Benefiel. Barbara began piano lessons at age 5, played her first solo recital at age13 and again at 15. She received many musical honors during her school years in Coffeyville. She was graduated Summa cum Laude from Hastings College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, the second person to graduate with a 4.00 average in the history of Hastings College, Nebraska, in 1953. She received a Master of Music degree from the University of Tulsa, with a 4.00 average, in June 1960. She composed a 5-movement Suite for Chamber Orchestra in dodecaphony as a requirement of this degree. From 1956 to 1964, she was appointed organist and music department secretary of Boston Avenue Methodist Church and accompanied the multi-program choir program, played many services, and presented an organ recital. At Northwestern State College, Alva, OK, she was Assistant Professor of Music teaching Theory, Counterpoint, Form and Analysis, Composition, Music History, Piano and Organ. During a sabbatical year (1968-69) at the University of Colorado, she completed resident requirements toward the Doctor of Musical Arts with a major in organ performance and M.M. in Musicology. The summer of 1971 she was accompanist for the University of Colorado Madrigal Singers European Concert Tour. In May 1972, Barbara Benefiel and Fred Elder were married at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church, and she was appointed organist at First Presbyterian Church, Tulsa (1972-74). Afterwards a legal secretary of Rizley. Prichard, and Boone, Smith, Attorneys at Law, she retired in 1986. Barbara was a docent at Philbrook Museum several years before serving as a docent at Harwelden. She was active in P.E.O., Wednesday Morning Musicale, and the American Guild of Organists, serving as Past Dean of the Tulsa Chapter. She and Fred enjoyed extensive travel in England, Europe, and Mexico for many years. A celebration of her life will be held at a later date.
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