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
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
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
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!
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
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