Obituaries » Elaine Dahl St. Vincent

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Elaine Dahl St. Vincent

June 28, 1912 - August 21, 2020

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Elaine Dahl St. Vincent was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 28, 1912. She passed away peacefully at Westminster Canterbury in Lynchburg, Virginia on August 21, 2020. Elaine was the beloved wife of the late Edwin H. St. Vincent. In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by her parents, Edwin and Signe Dahl; her brothers, Wilbur Dahl (Margaret) and Randall Dahl (Mildred); and her sister, Grace Dahl. Elaine has one nephew, Andrew Dahl (Janice) of North Falmouth, MA; nieces, Elaine Minore (Paul) of Guilford, CT; Kristina Osborn (Stephen) of Simsbury, CT; and Victoria Vickers (Cameron) of Clinton, CT. She is also survived by nephews, Edwin St. Vincent (Judith) of Syracuse, NY; Philip St. Vincent (Barbara) of Bumpass, VA; and Michael St. Vincent and Timothy St. Vincent (Dawn) of Melrose, MA. In addition, she has many great and great-great nieces and nephews. Elaine is also survived by a former Randolph-Macon Woman’s College student and very close friend of over 50 years, Sharyn Marks, of Lynchburg, VA.

Elaine St. Vincent’s professional career began following her education at The Juilliard School of Music where she obtained a certificate in piano. She later earned a master’s degree in musicology from Boston University. During her Juilliard years and beyond, Elaine had a successful career as a performing musician in New York City where she was a collaborative pianist and also served as organist for several churches.

She left New York to teach piano at Green Mountain Junior College in Poultney, Vermont. In 1947 Elaine accepted a position at R-MWC, a position that would grow into a distinguished 33-year career. There she taught piano, music history, music literature, and form and analysis. For most of her tenure at R-MWC, Elaine was chair of the Music Department. She rose to the rank of full professor and was the first female faculty member to be awarded the prestigious Gillie Larew Award for Distinguished Teaching. Elaine was a dynamic, energetic, and inspirational teacher both in the studio and in the classroom. Her love of music was contagious, and her devoted students have continued throughout the years to express gratitude for the impact she’s had on their lives. Elaine played regular duo-piano recitals at the College and throughout the Southeast with her colleague, Virginia Burton, as well as performing with singers and instrumentalists in many chamber music concerts.

Elaine’s leadership talents and organizational skills were recognized early on at R-MWC where she presided over many committees. She was chosen to chair both the College’s 75th anniversary that was celebrated an entire year, and the Arts Symposium which brought such luminaries as the Robert Shaw Chorale and orchestra, Jose Limon Dance Company, and NYT art critic John Canaday. After her retirement from R-MWC, she returned to teach piano for those on sabbatical and also to organize the College’s first Women’s Studies program.

Elaine’s father, grandfather, and uncle were Methodist ministers, and she assumed many leadership roles at Court Street United Methodist Church where she was president of United Methodist Women, chair of the Personnel Committee, chair of Council on Ministries, and chair of the Music Committee. She also served as harpsichordist on many special music occasions. Elaine broke tradition at the more than 140-year-old church when she became the first woman to chair the Administrative Board.

She continued active leadership and involvement during her later years while a resident at Westminster Canterbury. As a member of the Chapel Committee, she served as pianist for many memorials. She chaired the Residents’ Council, the Arts and Entertainment Committee which she founded, and the Programs and Activities Committee. Many residents will remember the splendid Canterbury Cafe programs performed by Elaine and her piano 4-hand partner, George Clark. In 2003 she was awarded the Lucille Drinkard Award for Outstanding Volunteerism at Westminster Canterbury.

Elaine St. Vincent had an accomplished and impressive professional career and an admirable and generous life of volunteerism. Her great loves were her dear husband, her family and friends, her students, her role as professor at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and, of course, music. Proud of her Methodist heritage and Swedish descent, Elaine was an extraordinary individual who was much loved and will be greatly missed. We rejoice in her life among us.

A celebration of Elaine’s life will occur near her birth date in late June, 2021 at Westminster Canterbury. Contributions in her memory may be made to Randolph College’s Annual Fund or The Elaine Dahl St. Vincent Endowed Music Scholarship Fund; Court Street United Methodist Church; or Westminster Canterbury’s Payne Family Employee Education Fund.

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family.



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