American Guild of Organists
Milwaukee Chapter
Photo - November 15, 2009

Phyllis J. Stringham, a longtime member of the AGO died on February 12, 2010 at her home in Waukesha, WI, at the age of 79.   Her survivors include her brother James A. (Gladys); nephews, James R. (Judy), Timothy J (Judy), and Steven H.N. (Kay); many grand nephews, nieces, other relatives and friends.  Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents, Harry and Wilma; brother, Robert; sister-in-law, Ruby; and nephew, James A. II.

A celebration of her life was held on February 18 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Waukesha, WI.  A private burial service was held in Grand Rapids, MI at a later date.

Phyllis, a native of Grand Rapids, MI, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Calvin College and a Master of Music degree in Organ Performance at the University of Michigan.  Her teachers include John Hamersma, Robert Noehren and Marilyn Mason. 

For 43 years, she was Professor of Music and College Organist at Carroll University, Waukesha, WI (1959-2002). After retirement from teaching, she retained her position as College Organist and Curator of the Organ.  In 2007 she was named Organist Emeritus.  Her earlier teaching career began at Chatham Hall, an Episcopal School in Virginia. She has been heard in concerts in the east and Midwest.  She is listed in Who’s Who in the World of Music.

A lifelong learner and student of the organ, Phyllis pursued additional study at the Ecole D-Americaine in Fontainebleau France, studying with Nadia Boulanger and Andre Marchal.  In 1966 she studied with Marie-Claire Alain and Anton Heiller at the Summer Academy for Organists in Haarlem, Holland.  While on sabbatical leave in 1972, she spent five months studying at the Hochschule fur Musik in Vienna, Austria.  Further study was done at the Eastman School of Music with Russell Saunders and Delbert Disselhorst at the University of Iowa. 

From the late1960s to 2007 she was founder and director of the Phyllis Stringham Concert Management agency, promoting many nationally known artists.  She served as Dean of the Milwaukee Chapter of the AGO and as Wisconsin State Chair of the Guild.  She also served as National Organ Division Chairman for the Music Teachers National Association. 

She will be fondly remembered as a devoted teacher by many generations of music students.  Several of her pupils have gone on to pursue advanced degrees in music and are currently serving as music faculty at the university level. (Submitted by John Ditto)

25-or-so Chapter members attended the funeral. Click HERE to download an image of the first page of the service bulletin and HERE to download an image of the 2nd page. (The scanned images were excessively large and so are posted a jpeg images to save space.)

If you have a memory or story about Phyllis which you would like to share, you may do so here: Remembrances of Phyllis Stringham

Some Photos of Phyllis

Click to enlargePhyllis in 1960 as she was just beginning her long tenure at Carroll College.

(1960 and 1965 images courtesy of Carroll University Digital Archives. )

Click to enlarge1965

Click to enlargeIn 1995 as she received an award for 40 years of teaching at Carroll

(Photo by Pete Mand, courtesy of The New Perspective)

CLick to enlarge2007 Founder's Day award

(Photo from The Pioneer, (Alumni Publication) photographer uncredited)

PhyllisSrMaryJ.jpgPhyllis greets Sr. Mary Jane Wagner after the Dedication recital at St. Jerome's Church in Oconomowoc, November 15, 2009

Phyllis poses with Sister Mary Hueller at the November 15, 2002 dedication recital at St. Jerome's, Oconomowok.


click to enlarge

Phyllis posed with members of the Milwaukee Chapter at the 1974 National Convention in Cleveland. front row: Hildegard Fischer, Lois Toeppner, Fr. Tom Lijewski, Sr. Mary Jane Wagner; row two Ed Wise, Bill Wojnar and Phyllis Stringham; row three Charles Henderson and A. Mueller.

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