Margaret (Maggie) Rickerd Scharf, beloved wife, mother , teacher and organist, died on July 31st , 2019 (which would have been her 64th anniversary of marriage to her deceased husband, Warren), at Legacy Place Parma Assisted Living Center, from Alzheimer’s. She was 89.
Maggie was born on December 26th, 1929, in Toledo, Ohio to Ora Stair Rickerd and Clyde Rickerd. Maggie had several main loves in her life: music, Warren, her children (Will and Lora ), students, friends, and animals of all kinds. Her love of music started when she was four years old. At that time her mother decided that it was time for piano lessons to start since she was already deeply involved in playing all sorts of music by ear and resisted taking on the discipline of reading music and cultivating a “proper technique”. That was the beginning of her musical journey, which took her in many directions. The direction for which she has been noted for the past 70-some years has been the pipe-organ performance, during which time she became recognized nationally as a concert artist and expert church musician as well as a highly respected organ teacher. However, from the earliest years there was another side of her music-making which is now not generally known, namely her delight in playing popular music (on the side) along with classical music until the early 1950’s. In 1948 she was offered a job as a cocktail pianist at a popular club in Rochester, but was not allowed by the Eastman School of Music dean to accept this because she would not get back to the dorm in time to abide by their curfew of 1am.
Maggie’s principal music teachers included A. Beverly Barksdale, Charlotte Wilson Engelke, Catherine Crozier, Harold Gleason, and David Craighead. In 1947 she was awarded a Rochester Prize Scholarship and began her studies at the Eastman School of Music. She received the Bachelor’s degree with honors in 1951 and was valedictorian of her class. In 1952 she was awarded the Performer’s Certificate in Organ. In 1963 she received the Doctor of Musical Arts in Organ Performance and Pedagogy from the Eastman School.
It was at Eastman where she first met Warren Scharf. They both reported that while they first viewed each other as rivals in their music classes, they soon fell in love. Thus began their lifelong odyssey of literally and figuratively “making beautiful music together”. Maggie and Warren married in 1955, becoming soul mates, best friends and musical partners for over 59 years.
Maggie’s early teaching positions included Hastings College in Nebraska, Mississippi Southern University, and Oklahoma State University. In 1965-1967 she was Chair of the Organ Department at the American University of Washington, D.C. From 1972-86 she was on the faculty of Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, OH. Maggie was also on the faculty of Cleveland State University and Baldwin Wallace College. From 1969-1999 Maggie was Co-Director of Music, along with her husband, Dr. Warren Scharf, and Organist at historic Old Stone Church on Public Square in Cleveland.
Maggie has been active for many years as an organ recitalist performing many times for conventions of the American Guild of Organists (where she served as Dean of the Cleveland Chapter from 1987-1989) and Music Teachers National Association.
Maggie and Warren lived in Berea for many years before moving to Lakewood. They enjoyed making music together, traveling, and socializing with their large circle of friends. Maggie became close with many of her students and former teachers, many of whom became her lifelong friends.
After the death of husband, Warren, in 2014, Maggie moved to Legacy Place Parma Assisted Living Center/ Pleasantview Care Center. She received kind and compassionate care here as she dealt with Alzheimer’s. She also received wonderful service from Heartland Hospice, and most notably from her friend and caregiver, Dawn Swartwood, who helped to make Maggie’s final 5 years much more fun.
Survivors include two children, William of Cleveland (Georgia Zisi) and Lora Hanna (Patrick) of Columbus. Family visitation will be from 5-8pm on Friday, August 9th at A. Ripepi and Sons Funeral Home, 3202 Fulton Avenue, Cleveland, 44109 and a memorial service will take place at 11am on Saturday August 10th at the Old Stone Church on Public Square in Cleveland. Her cremains will be kept at Old Stone Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Eastman School of Music, Office of Advancement, 26 Gibbs Street, Rochester, NY 14604. Please make checks payable to “Eastman School of Music” and note in the memo section “In memory of Margaret Scharf”.
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Eastman School of Music
26 Gibbs Street, Rochester NY 14604