DR. MARY ELIZABETH CRAFORD
April 23, 1954 ~ September 24, 2013
Her interests in music, art, social justice,
and peace, became her lifelong passions.
The loved and admired cellist, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Craford, 59, of Vancouver, WA, died on Sept. 24, 2013. She was born to Sidney and Ruth Craford on April 23, 1954, in Vancouver, WA, where she graduated in 1972 with highest honors from Hudson's Bay High School.
Mary sustained a long career of cello performance. Her career began when she was a high school student selected through open audition to be a member of the Portland Junior Symphony (now known as the Portland Youth Philharmonic). Mary earned a seat as principal cellist of PJS under the baton of Jacob Avshalomov. Early in her career, she participated in numerous master classes with distinguished cellists, including Gabor Rejto of the Alma Trio, Aldo Parisot of Yale University, Laurence Lesser of the New England Conservatory of Music, Steven Doane of the Eastman School of Music, and Colin Carr with the Golub-Kaplan-Carr Trio. Mary gained extensive orchestral experience performing with symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, opera, oratorio and musical theater orchestras, ballet orchestras, and with community, college and youth orchestras. A versatile musician, Mary enjoyed performing early as well as contemporary music with groups such as the Columbia University Collegium Musicum; New Camerata Consort of Vancouver, WA; House on Fire of New York City; and the Oregon Society of Composers of Portland, OR.
She did her undergraduate studies at Pomona College, Claremont, CA. In 1975, Mary had the distinction of being the only music student among 15 students chosen to be in the Oxford University (Oxford, England) Study Abroad program. Mary's studies at Oxford were in music theory and literature. In 1976, Mary earned a B.A. cum laude in general studies in music from Pomona College, Claremont, CA. Mary went on to earn two graduate degrees, a M.Mus. in cello and chamber music performance from Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR in 1979; and, in 1986, a M.A. in historical musicology from Columbia University, New York, NY. In 1994, Mary received a Doctor of Education degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in Music & Arts in Education - Music and Music Education.
Many of Mary's friendships were born in the harmony of ensemble music experiences. Despite the fact that Mary's academic music teaching career necessitated moving around the country to be where the jobs were - including years in New York City; Conway, AR; and Milwaukee, WI - Mary could always quickly make new friends through the activity of making music together in chamber music duos, trios, quartets, and variable sized ensembles. In particular, Mary's performances with the Craford-Showman Duo, the Kosharé Trio, the Portland Piano Trio, the Summerhill Trio, and the Stradivari String Quartet were enjoyed in the 1980s by Portland-Vancouver audiences.
A lifetime member of Vancouver First Congregational United Church of Christ, Dr. Mary Craford was co-author of the Open and Affirming Covenant of 1992 that the Vancouver First Congregational church wrote in agreement with the pledge of the 15th General Synod of the United Church of Christ, July 2, 1985. Mary also actively participated in her church's Capital Campaign ministry; as a lyricist, she wrote 'The Skylight Serenade' for a successful fundraising event in 2009. Mary deeply enjoyed many years singing in her church choir and performing solo cello music or ensemble music for services at her church and special church occasions.
Mary is survived by her sisters, Katie (Ron), Jane (Gene), and Margaret (Nick, deceased); two nieces, Ariel and Emma and one nephew, Noah (Angela); and two grand-nephews; her uncle and aunt, David and Agnes Craford; and numerous cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Sid and Ruth Craford.
A service to celebrate Mary's life will be held at her church, First Congregational, United Church of Christ, 1220 NE 68th Street, Vancouver, WA on Sat., Nov. 2, 2013 at 2:00 p.m.
Please sign her guestbook at: www.columbian.com/obits.
Published in The Columbian on Oct. 25, 2013