By Pat Smith Daily News
Greensburg Daily News
---- — GREENSBURG – The joyful sound of carillon bells from the First Presbyterian Church rang out across the courthouse square and neighborhoods in Greensburg Sunday.
The carillon was installed by the family and friends of Alice Goddard in her memory. She was the much beloved organist at the church for nearly 18 years. In addition to the bells, a bronze plaque was placed in the Memorial Room of the church. The plaque pictures Alice, in color, while sitting at the organ and gives additional information.
Alice was born Alice Marie Gartin in 1917. Her father was a nationally known auctioneer. In 1938 she married John W. Goddard who was judge of the 69th Judicial Circuit in Indiana for 30 years. Their three sons, Stephen Gartin, John Phillip and Alan Joe and their families, were in attendance Sunday for the dedication as were many friends.
Thelma Corya gave a moving tribute to Alice during the dedication of the carillon. She recounted her memories of Alice and her family and read notes and letters from some young people who wrote of the lasting influence she had on them while organist at the church.
Alice grew up in a musical home. Her mother had a degree in music and a grand piano in her home taking most of the space in their living room. Her older sister played the piano, harp and xylophone. Alice played the violin, accordion, piano and organ. Her uncle provided the piano background music to the silent movies being played at the Tree Theater in Greensburg.
The three sons thought it would be a nice tribute to establish a memorial in her memory. Phil said, “Upon consultation with Greg and Judy Rust, the idea of a carillon began to materialize and Greg saw it to fruition. The Goddard family and friends of the Goddard family are proud to provide such a tribute in her memory.”
Steve added, “We appreciate this opportunity to memorialize our mother. We think the carillon bells are appropriate for the purpose because of her love of music and the church.”
Phil said his mother provided the music for numerous weddings, funerals and was very proud of having provided the music for two state PEO conventions. “However,” he said, “her true dedication was to the First Presbyterian Church, where for 18 years, she could always be counted on to provide such splendid music that people would call her home afterwards to congratulate her.”
Alan said his mother’s true love for music was everyday in the Goddard household. “Mother would practice on the piano or the organ in the living room and her number one admirer (Dad) would be there sitting and listening. When she first was asked to be the church organist in 1956 she would go to the church on Wednesday nights to practice. She did this for many years until Dad decided he would rather she practiced at home, so he bought a full size Baldwin church organ for her. She was so proud of that organ and of course the family was privileged to get to hear the wonderful music for Sunday’s service ahead of time. Mother could play any style of music and often did whether on the organ or piano to our benefit.”
“Knowing her memory will be heard by the community when the bells are played will remind me of those beautiful times in the living room,” said Alan. “Thank you to the friends, members of the church and especially Greg and Judy Rust for seeing this tribute project to completion.”
The First Presbyterian Church will be fine-tuning the pealing of the bells in the carillon over the next week or so and hope the variety of sounds is a worthy addition to the community.