Wilda Eskew Brown, age 89, of the North Cove Township of McDowell County, North Carolina passed away on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 of natural causes. Wilda was born to the late Elbert Burton (EB) and Pearl Hylbert Eskew on January 17, 1931 in Fayetteville, Fayette County, West Virginia.
Both Wilda’s parents were educators who devoted their life to teaching others. Wilda’s great passion was music. She turned that passion into a lifetime of teaching music.
Wilda graduated from Berea College in 1952 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and Piano. She started her career teaching private piano lessons out of her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, while also raising her five children and supporting her husband’s career as a university professor. Wilda became a certified public school music teacher and taught for the Wake County Public School system in the 1970’s in addition to continuing to teach her private students. Wilda was a member of the Raleigh Piano Teachers Association, the North Carolina Music Teachers Association, and the Music Teachers National Association. Wilda was involved in the Young Artist Audition competitions throughout the years where she served as panel judge and had many of her private students compete. Wilda taught private piano students for over 60 years.
While living in Raleigh, Wilda attended Highland United Methodist Church. At Highland, she was a member of the chancel choir and served as director of the primary and youth choirs. A lifelong learner, Wilda earned her Masters of Arts in Piano and Pedagogy from Meredith College in Raleigh and taught piano to Meredith College students as a member of the faculty for a number of years before moving with her husband to live full-time at their farm in North Cove. After moving to North Cove in the early 2000’s, Wilda joined Concord United Methodist Church and became their pianist. She was a faithful member of Concord and continued to play for church services up until her death. Wilda’s great love of music, particularly church and classical music, and her dedication to teaching touched and inspired many people.
In addition to her love of music, Wilda was an advocate for her son David and others with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She was a long time member of the Mental Retardation Association of North Carolina, an organization supporting the families and residents of North Carolina’s Developmental Centers. Wilda served as president of the organization for more than 10 years.
Wilda was also a devoted mother, wife, and friend. She greatly enjoyed having her children, grandchildren, and friends visit her at her home in North Cove. Through the years she enjoyed spending time on her front porch watching her grandchildren playing in the yard or bringing her large family together for meals and holidays.
Wilda was preceded in death by her husband of 67 years, Henry S. Brown of North Cove, NC. She is survived by her children, David R. Brown of Morganton, NC, John M. Brown and his wife Katie of Charlotte, NC, H. Burt Brown and his wife Kathryn of High Point, NC, Laurie B. Miles and her husband Blair of North Cove, NC, and Shelley B. Lenckus and her husband Harold of Clayton, NC and her 10 grandchildren.
The family will hold a memorial service for Wilda at a later date when family and friends can come together and celebrate her life. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Concord United Methodist Church at 8806 Linville Road, Marion, NC, 28752 or the Assure the Future organization, at 300 Enola Road, Morganton, NC, 28655, for J. Iverson Riddle's Mimosa cottage.
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Concord United Methodist Church
8806 Linville Road, Marion NC 28752
Assure the Future organization
300 Enola Road, Morganton NC 28655