Lucile Graham Beasley
Lucile Graham Beasley, a woman of dignity and faith, slipped away peacefully on her way to heaven, surrounded by family and friends, on Monday, October 5, at 6:15 PM. She had been courageously and graciously navigating her gradual decline from Frontal Lobe Aphasia and always had a smile on her face for those around her. In the words of a dear friend and colleague, “She was a beautiful person and a great artist with a huge heart.”
Lucile was born into a family of Methodist and Quaker ministers in Tacoma, Washington on January 28, 1927. Piano studies began early with her mom, Helen Graham, and by third grade, she was playing with the school orchestra. Private lessons and accompanying continued on through high school and at church. Her first church organist position began when her dad, the Reverend Olin M. Graham, was transferred to Chehalis First United Methodist, which was in need of an organist as well as a minister! From then on, she studied organ in junior college and transferred to the Music Conservatory at the College of the Pacific in Stockton. There her musical foundation in classical organ literature and performance was shaped.
Lucile met her husband William Beasley, in Vancouver, Washington, when her dad was transferred to First United Methodist Church where Bill sang in the choir and she was the organist. They were married there by her dad in August 1952. In 1953, the couple moved to Santa Barbara where she taught piano and organ at Westmont College for 29 years. This began a full 55 year span for Lucile as teacher, professional accompanist, church musician, and concert organist. Early in her career, she had six years of intensive and fulfilling graduate study on the organ, giving annual recitals.
Lucile had the opportunity to play the organs at The Church of St. John the Divine in New York City, Woolsey Hall at Yale University, and the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. For 20 some years, she was the organist for the Christmas season Messiah Sing-a-long performance in Santa Barbara. She ministered through her music as organist/choir master at First Christian Church for ten years, as organist at St. Mark Methodist Church for six years, and concluded at First United Methodist Church from 1984 – 2005, where she established the Lenten Organ Recital Series now in its 21st Season and was named Organist Emerita.
Lucile was equally passionate about her family and friends, loving consistently and unconditionally. She was a loyal and devoted wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother and friend. She was always there without fail in times of need for all of her family. She adored having and helping raise her four grandchildren. And she had a special concern for those who were alone at the holidays and always made room at her Thanksgiving table for friends who were in need of a loving family at that time.
Finally, when Lucile’s dementia caused her to lose her keyboard abilities, she transferred all of her passion into loving. All relationships brought her great joy whether it was someone new or a well-known friend. Another friend, during this time, said it so well: “I can think of no greater legacy than to have been loved so well by so many.” Lucile’s legacy of faithfulness, love, and family will live on.
Lucile is survived by her husband Bill, married 63 years, daughters Carolyn (Mac), Susan (Paul), and Sharon (Raul) and grandchildren Nicole, Danielle, Megan and Paul as well as one great grandson Braylin.
The family would like to thank the staff at Friendship Center Montecito for filling her days with joy from 2012-2014, the caregivers in the Garden and staff at Heritage House during her last year, and the staff with Assisted Hospice during her last days.
A Celebration of her Life and Memorial Eucharist will be held on Saturday, November 28, at 2:00 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara with a reception following. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Friendship Center in Montecito or the Trinity Episcopal Artist Series.