Edith Killgore Kirkpatrick

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Edith Killgore Kirkpatrick
Member of Louisiana Board of Regents for Higher Education
In office
1977–1989
Personal details
Born Edith Aurelia Killgore
(1918-11-14) November 14, 1918 (age 96)
Lisbon, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, USA
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Claude Kirkpatrick (1917-1997; married 1938-his death)
Children Claude Kent Kirkpatrick (1942-1945)

Thomas Killgore Kirkpatrick, I (1944-2009)
Edith Kay Kirkpatrick
Charles Kris Kirkpatrick

Residence Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana
Occupation Music educator; Businesswoman
Religion Baptist
(1) Kirkpatrick graduated from Baptist-affiliated Louisiana College in Pineville, where she met her husband, Louisiana State Representative Claude Kirkpatrick, a businessman, who served from 1952—1960.

(2) Kirkpatrick and her husband were leaders in the Jimmie Davis gubernatorial campaign in southwestern Louisiana in 1959-1960.

(3) Kirkpatrick served two six-year terms on the Louisiana Board of Regents from 1977-1989, during which time she promoted the study of art, music, and foreign language in the curriculum.

(4) Kirkpatrick has been involved in Baptist churches and associations for more than seven decades.

(5) Kirkpatrick still maintains her 150-year-old family plantation home in Claiborne Parish in North Louisiana.

Edith Aurelia Killgore Kirkpatrick (born November 14, 1918)[1] is a retired music educator from Baton Rouge who served on the Louisiana Board of Regents for Higher Education from 1977—1989, the superboard which must approve education budgets presented to the state legislature. She is also a former member of the executive board of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. She is the widow of businessman Claude Kirkpatrick, a former Democratic state representative (1952—1960) from Jennings, the seat of Jefferson Davis Parish in southwestern Louisiana. Claude Kirkpatrick also ran for governor in the 1963 primary.

Early years, education, family[edit]

Kirkpatrick was born to Thomas Morton Killgore and the former Bess Blanche Melton in Lisbon in Claiborne Parish about halfway between Shreveport and Monroe in North Louisiana. Thomas Killgore was primarily a cotton farmer but also operated a general store with a brother and had in his younger years been a rural mail carrier. African American sharecroppers also lived on the Killgore estate and engaged in truck farming and maintained cows and chickens. Peaches were also grown in the red-clay hills located west of Ruston,[2] which holds the annual Louisiana "Peach Festival". Kirkpatrick still owns and maintains the family plantation house, the Killgore House, also known as the Rocky Springs Plantation, built in 1859 and included in the National Register of Historic Places. The structure is at the intersection of Louisiana Highway 2 and Highway 518 in Lisbon.[3]

Kirkpatrick's middle name "Aurelia" is the same as that of her paternal grandmother, originally Aurelia Williams, the daughter of a Methodist preacher. Kirkpatrick graduated from Lisbon High School in 1934; the formerly all-white school closed in 1970, when the remaining segregated Louisiana public schools underwent the final stages of U.S. District Court-mandated desegregation.[2]

Kirkpatrick's paternal uncle, John Killgore, a physician, was a co-founder with Dr. Charles Russell Reynolds (1858–1919), of Minden Medical Center in Minden, the seat of Webster Parish to the west of Lisbon. Her maternal aunt, Eloise Melton Starr (1901–1978), was a long-time educator in the Webster Parish public schools. Lloyd C. Starr (1899–1982),[4] Eloise's husband and Kirkpatrick's uncle by marriage, was a former educator who served on the Webster Parish School Board after he embarked on a second career as an investments salesman in Minden. Dr. Reynolds' daughter, Sadie Elouise Reynolds (1903–1997), was another prominent Webster Parish educator and a specialist in Louisiana history.[5]

On August 21, 1938, Edith Killgore married Claude Kirkpatrick, whom she had met as a fellow student at Louisiana College in Pineville in Rapides Parish in Central Louisiana. She graduated as valedictorian in their common 1938 class. The Kirkpatricks had four children: Claude Kent (1942–1945), Thomas Killgore (1944–2009), Edith Kay (born 1946), and Charles Kris (born 1948). In 1957, the Kirkpatricks were named the first "All-American Family" of Louisiana as a result of a search conducted by The Book of Knowledge, the Boys Clubs, and a panel of representatives from service and civic organizations.[6] Sandra Futrell Kirkpatrick, widow of Thomas Killgore Kirkpatrick, is the daughter of the late P. Elmo Futrell, Jr., the mayor of Pineville during the early 1960s.[7]

Shortly after she procured her Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana College in 1938, Kirkpatrick studied for a 10-week summer session at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. She did not receive her master of music degree until 1965, when she completed the requirements from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She was a private voice teacher in Sulphur and then Jennings from 1939-1959. She taught music at McNeese State University in Lake Charles from 1955-1958. She was also the choir director for Baptist churches in Sulphur, Jennings, and Baton Rouge from 1938-1995. She was a visiting assistant professor at LSU for the 1967-1968 academic year.[8]

Kirkpatrick in politics[edit]

In 1975, Kirkpatrick ran for a seat on the state Board of Trustee for Higher Education but was defeated. Thereafter, Governor Edwin Washington Edwards, acting on the requests of hundreds of her loyal supporters, named Kirkpatrick to one of the appointed slots on the board. Edwards had supported Kirkpatrick's opponent in the jungle primary for the seat. In 1977, Edwards appointed her to the newly established Board of Regents, the superboard under a new Louisiana State Constitution of 1974. She served in that capacity until 1990. Kirkpatrick worked to encourage music, art, and foreign language instruction in the public schools as a qualification for an incoming college student to receive a Regent scholarship. The regents at the time also worked on the first master plan for higher education in the state.[2]

In 1959, Kirkpatrick headed the woman's division for southwestern Louisiana campaign to elect James Houston "Jimmie" Davis to a second nonconsecutive term as governor of Louisiana. Like the Kirkpatricks, Davis was Baptist and an alumnus of Louisiana College. Davis and Mrs. Kirkpatrick were each active in the field of music, he as a singer of secular and sacred music, and she as an educator. Claude Kirkpatrick left the legislature and served as Director of Public Works in the second Davis administration and worked on the establishment of Toledo Bend Reservoir. In 1963, Mrs. Kirkpatrick headed the women's division of her husband's unsuccessful gubernatorial primary campaign.[8] During that time, she published a short book of favorite songs titled Louisiana Let's Sing in honor of her husband's candidacy.[9]

Kirkpatrick's civic leadership[edit]

She was a contributing editor to the Louisiana Baptist Message denominational newsletter from 1970-1975. She served on the Baptist state convention based in Alexandria, the seat of Rapides Parish. From 1969-1995, she was also chairman of the editorial board and a writer for Music Clubs Magazine, based in Indianapolis, Indiana.[8]

Kirkpatrick over the years has been affiliated with the LSU College of Music and Dramatic Arts, the Baton Rouge Arts Council, the Community Fund for the Arts, the Red Cross, the Young Men's Christian Association, the Parent-Teacher Association, the Baton Rouge chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, since renamed the National Conference for Community and Justice. She was the founder and first chairman of the Youth Orchestra of the Baton Rouge Symphony.[8]

In 1961, Louisiana College, presented Kirkpatrick with its Distinguished Alumni Award. In 1980, Louisiana College granted her its honorary doctorate degree. From 1960-1963, she was state president of Louisiana Baptist Women's Missions. In addition, she is a member of the National Federation of Music and served on the executive board of the group from 1979-1995. Her other organizations include Mortar Board, the first all-women's honor society, Omicron Delta Kappa, Sigma Alpha Iota music society, and Phi Kappa Phi honor society.[8]

Kirkpatrick is retired in Baton Rouge, where her two younger children, Edith and Charles, are practicing attorneys. The older son, Thomas, a retired military officer and lawyer, contracted cancer in 2002 and died at the age of sixty-five in 2009.[10] Endowed professorships in music in Kirkpatrick's name are offered at both Louisiana College and LSU. There is also a Claude Kent Kirkpatrick Scholarship in Health and Physical Education at Louisiana College.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Net Detective, People Search
  2. ^ a b c Statement of Edith Killgore Kilpatrick, September 22, 2008
  3. ^ "Killgore House: Louisiana Official Tourism and Travel Information". beta.louisianatravel.com. Retrieved October 16, 2009. 
  4. ^ Social Security Death Index:http://ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/ssdi.cgi
  5. ^ Sadie Reynolds, Eloise Starr, and L.C. Starr obituaries, MindenMemories website: http://www.mindenmemories.net/
  6. ^ "State official, civic leader Claude Kirkpatrick dies at 79", Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, January 15, 1997, p. 7A
  7. ^ "Services set for former Pineville Mayor Futrell", Alexandria Daily Town Talk, December 6, 1993, p. D-3
  8. ^ a b c d e Who's Who Among American Women, 2008-2009, 27th edition, P.O. Box 44, New Providence, NJ 07974
  9. ^ Edith Killgore Kilpatrick, Louisiana Let's Sing, 1963:http://www.antiqbook.com/boox/gaq/028504.shtml
  10. ^ "Obituary of Thomas Killgore Kirkpatrick, I". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved October 15, 2009. 
  11. ^ Louisiana College Directory, 2006:http://www.lacollege.edu/academics/catalog/pdf/2006/directory.pdf