Although Thelma Frederick died three years ago, the loss felt by those at Asbury United Methodist Church is still palpable.
Church members and Pastor Mike Caldwell tear up at the mere mention of her name. Frederick, a lifelong member of the church, and the organist for that congregation and other churches in the community, is fondly remembered and very much missed.
Frederick, 97, died in December, 2012. The Thelma Craig Frederick Scholarship is presented annually to a graduating Perryville High School senior who plans to pursue music education. In May 2013, the church gave the scholarship to Amber Adams. In May 2014, Joshua Rowley earned the scholarship. This year, the scholarship was not presented because no student met the majoring in music education requirement. Joshua Rowley is now studying music education at Millersville University. "I knew her (Frederick) all of my life. She was one of the inspirations for me being in music. I very much consider it an honor to have received the scholarship," he said.
The scholarship recipients are chosen by the Perryville High School music department, currently Jill Welsheimer and Nathan Carns.
Later this month, an event is being held to honor Frederick and raise funds for the scholarship in Perryville. Rowley explained that fundraisers are held in August because Frederick was born in that month.
The fundraiser, a spaghetti dinner, will be held August 22 from 4-7 p.m. at Perryville United Methodist church house, Susquehanna Avenue, Perryville. No fee is set for the meal. Those attending are asked to give what they can in memory of Frederick. Rowley said those who can't afford to give, are also welcome. They will be fed to honor Frederick's memory.
The menu will feature spaghetti and meatballs, tossed salad, garlic bread, assorted desserts, and beverages. The idea of a spaghetti dinner came from the pastor's wife, Beverly. Rowley is coordinating the dinner and church members are donating the food. Dana Rowley is also collecting items for basket raffles for the event. Anyone who would like to donate may contact her at 410-808-7914.
"Thelma was one of the backbones of this church, the matriarch," said Pastor Caldwell. "When I came to the church she was in the hospital. I visited her and she was supportive and asked about the church. I visited her when she was at home. She would talk about the music. She loved this church. It's still emotional for me. The whole Craig family is dear to this church. They are very supportive of this church."
Frederick also played music at Cokesbury United Methodist Church and at other area churches.