Edith Kirkpatrick – … a person of character

Considering, she has a passion for music that began with voice lessons at an early age and continues decades later through her ongoing support for the performing arts.

Considering, she graduated as valedictorian from Louisiana College with a degree in music then studied at Juilliard School of Music in New York. “At the time, I was engaged to Claude Kirkpatrick. He sent me telegrams every week to ask me to come back to Louisiana. I just knew he was going to marry a cute little French girl if I didn’t get home.”

Considering, her marriage to Claude lasted 58 years, until his death 15 years ago. They had four children, two of whom are still alive. She has four living grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. “My marriage to Claude was the happiest I could have imagined marriage to be.”

Considering, she received a master’s degree in music from LSU in 1965. Over the years, she was a private voice teacher, a Baptist choir director, a music instructor at McNeese State University in Lake Charles and an assistant professor at LSU.

Considering, she served on the Louisiana Board of Regents for more than a decade. Kirkpatrick worked to encourage music, art and foreign language instruction in the public schools. The board, at the time, also worked on the first master plan for higher education in the state.

Considering, she has been affiliated with the Baton Rouge Arts Council, the Community Fund for the Arts, the Red Cross and the YMCA. She was the founder and first chairman of the Youth Orchestra of the Baton Rouge Symphony.

Considering, she is a former member of the executive board of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. She was a contributing editor to the “Louisiana Baptist Message” newsletter. Of all her many achievements, she is most proud to have been part of the construction of the Baptist camp Tall Timbers, which is located south of Alexandria.

Considering, she knows her share of heartache, and she uses her personal experiences to extend compassion to others. “It hasn’t been an easy life, but it’s been worth it. You live through the rough times, and hopefully you can help others who suffer loss.”

Considering, at 93, she still attends the symphony and other community events, and she has no desire to stop. “I like people too much to stay at home. There are so many things here to get involved in.”

Editor Ashley Sexton Gordon nominates a person of character from the Baton Rouge Community each month.