1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


A Tribute to Ossie Keadle

Music Teacher and Band Director

Born December 27, 1900 in Logan County. Mrs. Keadle came to Alderson from Huntington in 1925 to serve as music director in the Alderson schools until her retirement in 1964.  She was formerly music director at Hamlin High School in Hamlin, W. Va.  She received her early education in Logan schools, was graduated from Morris Harvey College and did graduate work at Marshall College, American University in Washington, D. C., University of Maryland, and Madison College in Harrisonburg, Va.
 She was a member of the State Education Association, International Piano Teachers Association, National Music Education Association, State Music Association and state and county Classroom Teachers Association.

Mrs. Keadle also was a member of the Music and Civic Department of the Alderson Woman's Club, Order of Eastern Star, Afternoon Circle of the Johnson Memorial United Methodist Church and had organized music groups in schools for all ages.

She served as organist and choir director at Johnson Memorial United Methodist Church for 40 years and was certified as a minister of music by the W. Va. Methodist Conference.  She passed away in 1976 at the age of 76. (From her obituary)




Many of us who went through Alderson schools will never be able to thank Ossie Keadle enough for what she did for those who love music. Most likely she was my favorite teacher in Alderson and taught me piano lessons when I was a kid. Always with a smile and her laugh, she was a pleasure to be around. I remember her teaching those songs in grade school, and the dances, where the guys would have to dance with the girls. Yuck! Sorry ladies, but I always hated that. Something about "Coming thru the Rye", whatever that was.

The biggest favor Mrs. Keadle did for me was in 1955, while the band was practicing for the Mayday festival, she sent another student upstairs to get me out of class. As I walked into the band room, she handed me a pair of drum sticks and said, "Here". "You're going to play drums".  From that day on I was in the High School Band until I graduated. I also purchased a drum set, and played with Burr Shaffer's ensemble out of Lewisburg for a couple of years. And for that, I got paid.--Barry Worrell

Miss Ossie Keadle was the music teacher in the Alderson schools. She played the organ at the Methodist Church on Sundays and gave piano lessons after school and on weekends. Every boy and girl who went through Alderson Grade School in the late 30s, all of the 40s and the early 50s learned to read music.

I remember Every Good Boy Does Fine for the five lines and F A C E for the four spaces. All Cows Eat Grass were the lines on the bottom. We had to draw the Treble Clef and the Bass Clef and put notes on the proper lines and spaces. We even drew little "flags" for quarter notes and eighth notes. I was absolutely stellar at these mechanics. My downfall was making those letters into sounds, musical sounds.

Miss Ossie tried and tried. She gave me special lessons, pounding a key while asking me to reproduce the sound. She persuaded my mother to make me take piano lessons. Alas, I unwillingly practiced the wrong chords never even hearing my mistakes.

All grade school children had to sing in the choir. Miss Ossie made me sing in the high school choir and the church choir, as well. She clung in vain to a hope that no one was hopeless.

Years later, I was vindicated, in a way. Scared and alone in my first prep school study hall/assembly, we all rose to pledge allegiance to the American Flag. When everyone began to sing, I lustily belted out The Star Spangled Banner. I had reached "bombs bursting in the air" before I realized with horror and dismay, that everyone else was singing an Episcopal Hymn of Praise! 
--Amanda Iodice

Looking at some of the articles in the Aldersonian I came upon the one about Ossie Keadle and the testimonials about her long Service to all of us Alderson Students. I had to tell my wife about the one that Amanda Iodice wrote and wanted to tell her that we Episcopal church members still sing hymns of praise that sound a lot like the national anthem.  We call them dirginals. I remember one music class we sang a little song as a group and then Miss Keadle said "James I want you to sing it by yourself" You can not believe how hard it was for me, a little first grade boy to sing "Little Blue Bird in the Tree, Sing a song for me". I have many great memories of her and as a senior we put on a little operetta called "Chonita, a Gypsy Romance". I am setting here in front of my PC with my copy of it with several autographs written on it. I played the part of Konan a rich gypsy who was after Conita (Pat Johnson/Rowe) but in the end Stefan, a poor gypsy won her heart. "Damn you H.R. Ayers!!" I cant remember all of the other cast members but I know Jack Hardesty, James Smith, my future wife Barbara Mallet and many others were in it. One of these days I am going to figure out the chords for the Blue Bird song and play it on my Uke or Mandolin. By the way Amanda, I do play Episcopal praise song real often.

I forgot to add, inside the operetta song book I found an old news paper article with a picture of two Alderson boys who were in All State Chorus. H.R. Ayers and Jim Thurmond. Amanda, the article also said I was a choir member of Johnson Memorial Methodist Church Under the direction of Miss Keadle. I have been there, done that, got the T-Shirt.

Since Mrs. Keadle was both a  school teacher and  church organist and choir director, every time there was a funeral in the Methodist church we choir members got off from school to sing.  One funeral that sticks in my mind left me with a bad case of nerves for several days. As the casket was leaving the front of the church three very large ladies ran up and threw themselves across it and cried "Don't leave us Mama" and other similar things.  It was a big shock to me.  I expect I thought maybe Mama wasn't going and I didn't want to see what was going to happen next!

Another prize between the pages of that song book was a program of a basketball tournament on Feb 29 and March 1 of 1952 at The Armory in Ronceverte. Lewisburg won the tournament with Alderson in second place. Carroll Bowyer, Jim Thurmond and Barry Keadle were on the all tourney team along with some one named Hardesty from Ronceverte. I am glad Jack and his family moved back to Alderson to be a member of our senior class.  YEA 1953. AHS forever, etc. - Jim Thurmond

I had Mrs. Keadle from 1st grade on. I was in 1st grade in 1937. She taught us to sing and play the tonnette. I still have mine somewhere. Then during the war when we didn't have a band director Mrs. Keadle kept us together to play for things like the Mayday in the picture. Emmit and I played trumpet, Larry Pezzanite played sax, Bill Diem played trombone, John Alderson played sax when there were no sharps or flats, and others. I remember we got together an orchestra if you could call it that. Emmit and I played trumpet, Larry and Carolyn Thurman played sax, Sugar Fulks played piano, can't remember the drummer, but we cut a record once at Floyd Lobbans store. I went on to Concord the year Kenny Large came to Alderson. I majored in music but after Korea went to another profession. I also took piano lessons from Mrs. Keadle. She was a great teacher. - Tom Roush

Miz Ossie was one of the dearest people I have ever known. I, like every other student she ever had was made to feel that he or she was Miz Ossie's favorite of all time. I would have walked on hot coals for her. I sang in the H. S. choir and at the Methodist Church under her direction I recall she had me sing a solo of  "The Road to Mandalay" once in a assembly,  By dern I can still do it, (not well), but it probably wasn't that great originally. The church did "the Seven Last Words of Christ" one Easter, again a solo! Last Easter I offered to buy the music if the Baptist Choir Director would go the same Cantata for Easter. Tom Rouse sang, Joanne Johnson Frazier came from Union to sing, A packed house, I could not help thinking of Ossie and shedding a unashamed tear! God Rest her dear soul!
- John McCurdy

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