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Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Starts at 2:00pm (Eastern time)
Miriam Toney Hammett Flesher, a woman of abiding faith in God, love of family and passion for music, died Thursday, January 13, 2022, at home in Halifax, Virginia. She was 91.
Miriam was a member of the Music Teachers National Association and instructed generations of young piano students in a career spanning nearly 40 years. She also taught in public schools and directed children’s choirs in churches. Patient and cheerful, she encouraged students to seek joy in music, whatever their skill level, and delighted in playing duets with them during recitals.
Blessed with a sweetly pure soprano voice, she was a member of numerous adult choirs. Her solo rendition of the beloved anthem, “Seek Ye the Lord,” enthralled congregations, inspiring one worshipper to remark, “You sounded like an angel from heaven.”
Born on June 8, 1930, in Gaffney, South Carolina, Miriam graduated from Gaffney High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Limestone University, where she was a member of Chi Delta Phi, a national honorary literary sorority. She served as education director with Thomas Memorial Baptist Church in Bennettsville, South Carolina, before beginning graduate study in church music and pipe organ at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
While in Louisville, she caught the eye of Gordon Flesher, a fellow organ student from Trenton, Missouri, who was captivated by her beauty, musical talent and distinctive Southern drawl. He wasted little time in requesting a date. They were married in 1952 after a brief courtship and were inseparable for 70 years.
Home and faith were uppermost in Miriam’s mind and heart. She steadfastly supported her husband’s music ministry at churches in South Carolina, Virginia and North Carolina. She was most recently a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in South Boston, Virginia.
She and Gordon raised three children: Barbara Crowder (Gene) of High Point, North Carolina; John Flesher (Sharon) of Traverse City, Michigan; and Cara Conner (David) of Nathalie, Virginia. Her kind, gentle spirit endeared her to her close-knit family, friends and fellow church members throughout her life.
Miriam’s artistic tastes also extended to the written word; she was an avid reader of historical fiction, poetry and the Bible. She delighted in bird watching, keeping records of the species that flocked to her backyard feeders and listening to vinyl recordings to identify their distinctive chirps. Another hobby was researching her Scottish ancestry through the Hammett and Wilson family trees. A highlight of her life was visiting Scotland and England’s Lake District, where she bought a Wilson clan tartan skirt and scarves and toured scenes featured in her favorite public television series, “All Creatures Great and Small.”
In addition to her loving husband and children, Miriam is survived by six grandchildren: Sarah C. Ferrell (Paul); Robert G. Conner (Janie); Dylan E. Flesher (Miya Kakuda); Benjamin N. Conner (Savanna); Christopher J. Crowder (Emily Ingram); and Leah L. Flesher, plus great-grandchildren Robert Alexander Conner and Charles Bentley Conner.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Charles R. and Faye Wilson Hammett; two brothers, Lyman and Joseph Hammett; and sister Marjorie H. Turner.
A graveside service is scheduled for Wednesday, January 19, at 2 p.m. at Providence Presbyterian Church, 8221 Coles Ferry Road, Nathalie, Virginia. The Very Reverend Dr. Susan Grimm of Trinity Episcopal Church will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Miriam’s name may made to the Halifax County Rescue Squad, at 700 Hamilton Blvd, South Boston, Virginia, 24592.
Online condolences may be directed to www.powellfuneralinc.com
Arrangements are by: Powell Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 1603 Wilborn Ave., South Boston, VA 24592