Frances and Edwin: A “Key” part of Our Blessings
People have said that you can never tell the depth of a teacher’s influence on his or her students. Albert Edwin Key and Frances James Key influenced the lives of thousands of students through piano and organ instruction at Key Studio located in Olney. The Keys had more than 67 years of teaching experience, and their daughter Carol Glover continues to carry the torch of influence with the students she teaches throughout the community.
Edwin and Frances met in Graham and quickly realized they shared a passion for music. The couple married in 1950 and moved to Olney, although Frances lived most of her life in Graham and was a graduate of Graham High School.
Frances was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, southeast of Tulsa; Her family moved to a farm north of Graham, and she has relatives all over Graham and Olney. She was only eight-years-old when she started music lessons and continued until she went to college at Texas Women’s University. She eventually went to Julliard Conservatory for Music. Afterward, she started a piano studio in Graham and has been teaching ever since.
Edwin was born in Megargel to George Key and Margaret Estelle Campbell Key. He grew up watching his mother in the kitchen and developed a love for baking. After graduating from Megargel High School in 1941, Edwin earned a bachelor’s degree in music at Southern Methodist University in 1948. He was in the Army in World War II and fought throughout Europe. In addition to music instruction, Edwin was a wheat farmer and cattle rancher. Also, he was an organist at Cumberland Presbyterian Church for 69 years. He passed away in 2018 at the age of 93.
Edwin and Frances received numerous accolades throughout their teaching years. They were chosen as Music Teachers National Association Foundation Fellows representing Texas. Also, they were both bestowed the Pioneer of the Year Award by the Olney Chamber of Commerce for their years of service to the community. Edwin and Fraces were members of Wichita Falls Music Teachers Association for 65 years and both awarded Pre-Collegiate Teacher of the Year by the Texas Music Teachers Association in different years.. In addition to teaching students at the Key Studio, Frances also taught in Olney Public Schools for 12 years, and she recalled the great things some of their students have accomplished from across the United States. “We have students that are teaching now. Some of them live as far away as California and New York. There are some in Texas and all over the U.S.,” Frances recalled. “We had one student who is directing an 800-person choir in the Atlanta area.” Frances reminisced about her ties to Olney through many friendships. She has built a friendship with Mary Ellen Meschkat at Elmcrost where she resides. “I didn’t know Mary Ellen until we were put at the same dinner table together at Elmcroft.,” Frances said. Frances’ brother-in-law Clifton Key and his wife JoAnn reside in Olney and remain a part of her life. Her daughter Carol is in Olney and teaches the students in the community. She has granddaughters Sarah Glover Kidd of Graham and Kate Glover Everts of Austin and great-grandsons. As we pause to give thanks today, let’s show our gratitude for influencers like the Keys who have impacted our lives and our community in numerous ways.