Merle Fowler Lemley
July 14, 1935 – October 16, 2020
TUSCALOOSA - Merle Fowler Lemley, age 85, passed away on October 16, 2020, at Hospice of West Alabama.
Funeral Services will be held Wednesday, October 21, 3pm at Memory Chapel with Reverend Richard Vise officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to services at the funeral home.
Merle was raised in Eutaw, AL and graduated from Greene County High School in 1953. After graduating high school, she attended Livingston University, where she obtained her Bachelors of Science. While at Livingston, she met the love of her life, John Hiram Lemley, who was the coolest guy at the sock-hop on campus. John and Merle were married in 1957, and moved to Tuscaloosa. Merle achieved her Master of Arts in Music Education at the University of Alabama in 1976.
Merle touched many lives through music education. She was a choral instructor, voice teacher, and band director, as well as a private piano teacher for over 50 years. She also taught in the Judson College Community School of Fine Arts program and volunteered at Shelton State for 18 years performing and mentoring students through their jazz program.
One of her favorite activities was singing in a group called the Notettes, which originated in college. This group continued to be her lifelong best friends. Later, as a member of Civic Chorus, she accompanied many productions, including Oklahoma, Guys and Dolls, Carousel, and The Most Happy Fella. As an artist, she played with several groups, including the Alabama Cavaliers, the Dixie Downbeats, and the Shelton State Jazz Band. She enjoyed playing for jazz dinners at NorthRiver Yacht Club and provided her talents for hundreds of weddings, funerals, and church services. She played a number of other events often as a solo artist or with other musicians.
Merle will be remembered for her laughter, silliness, and ability to make anyone around her feel special. She had a gift for encouraging others and loved to give complements. She was a devout Christian and spent hours in God’s word, which was her favorite way to spend time.
Merle was preceded in death by her parents, Juanita Davidson Fowler and Travis Emmett Fowler; husband of 59 years, John Hiram Lemley; brother, Thomas Jackson Fowler; and daughter, Lea Ann Lemley Koniski.
Merle is survived by her daughter, Marla Dean Lemley Falls (Bob); son-in-law, James Edward Koniski (Lauren); grandchildren, John Edward Koniski (Lydia) of New York, NY, Grant James Koniski, of San Francisco, CA, Stuart Lemley Falls of Nashville, TN, and Madelyn Dean Falls of Birmingham, AL, as well as other beloved cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Pallbearers will be Bob Falls, Stuart Falls, Billy Falls, Sam Falls, Jeff Fowler, and Richard Harwood.
The family would like to extend special thanks to the caregivers and staff at Caring Days of Tuscaloosa, Hospice of West Alabama, Crimson Village Memory Care Unit, and Moundville Health and Rehab. Several people who have been blessings to our family include Dr. Craig Buettner, Barbie Cleino, CRNP, and Dr. Julie Aldridge, as well as friends, family, and our church body.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Caring Days of Tuscaloosa, P.O. Box 3049 Tuscaloosa, AL 35403 or Hospice of West Alabama, 3851 Loop Rd., Tuscaloosa, AL 35404.
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Memory Chapel Funeral Home
Celebration of Life
Memory Hill Gardens
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