Pearl Francis Seymour
June 23, 1927 - October 28, 2011
Pearl Francis Seymour, 84, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, passed away on October 28th, 2011. She was born to Sallie Bailey and Paul Francis in LaFollette, Tennessee, on June 23th, 1927. Preceding her in death were her parents and her brothers, Paul Bailey Francis and William Clark Francis. She received her education beginning in Columbia, Missouri, at Christian Junior College, followed by a BA in music from the University of Michigan in 1949, and an MA in music from Mills College in Oakland, California in 1952. An accomplished pianist and organist, she started her career teaching in the Music Department of Mars Hill College, and was also the organist of the Mars Hill Baptist Church. Following her marriage to the Reverend Robert Edward Seymour, Jr., the couple moved to Chapel Hill in 1959, where she served as the organist for the Olin T. Binkley Memorial Baptist Church for 30 years. She also taught local piano students in her home.
She was an active member of the community, serving as an early President of the Chapel Hill Service League, and a member of the Chapel Hill Music Teachers' Association. She was recently honored with her husband in the naming of the new Chapel Hill Senior Center as the Robert and Pearl Seymour Center. Pearl enjoyed playing tennis, though her primary athletic passion was as a fan of Carolina basketball. She will be greatly missed by everyone whose life she touched, and her gift of music will be perpetuated by all for whom she played and taught. She is survived by her husband of 55 years, Robert Edward Seymour, Jr.; a son, Robert Edward Seymour III and wife Kelly of Raleigh; a daughter, Frances Jane Seymour and husband Michael Kopetski of Bogor, Indonesia; a sister, Anne Margaret Knott of New York City; and a brother, Phillip Meyrick Francis of Naples, Florida. Pearl especially delighted in her four grandchildren: Leigh Francis Seymour, Robert Edward Seymour IV, Macy Elizabeth Seymour, and Emme Grace Seymour. The family extends special gratitude to the staff of the Carol Woods Health Center for their loving care and support during her illness. In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes contributions to the Ministry of Music or the Endowment Fund of the Olin T. Binkley Memorial Baptist Church (1712 Willow Drive, Chapel Hill, NC, 27514). Funeral arrangements are being made by Walkers Funeral Home in Chapel Hill. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 5th, 2011 at 3:00 pm at the Olin T. Binkley Memorial Baptist Church in Chapel Hill.
Published in The News & Observer on October 30, 2011