Elsie Pollock

Obituary of Elsie Blackwell Pollock

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On February 13, 2023, Elsie Blackwell Pollock, 90, died peacefully in her home. It was a beautiful morning, fitting of a beautiful life, well lived. Her final days were filled with that which she loved most; family, friends, and music. During her life, Elsie blended all three into what became a beautiful symphony which touched many lives, and will continue to do so for generations to come. A Service is planned for 2 PM on Friday February 24 at Holy Cross Faith Memorial Episcopal Church, The Very Reverend Will Keith, Officiant. Elsie was an accomplished pianist, pipe organist, and harpsichordist. She was an inspiring choral director, and choir director. She was a gifted music teacher who used her musical talent to both inspire and empower others. She loved teaching music, especially to children and youth. Elsie helped shape the classical music culture of Georgetown County and beyond. Elsie was born in Baltimore, MD in 1932 to Dr. Reese Croxton Blackwell and Lilly Dill Blackwell, while her father was studying at Johns Hopkins University. She was raised in Greenville, SC where she began studying piano at a young age. Given the choice of helping with household chores or practicing piano, she always chose the piano. As a student at Greenville High School, she became the accompanist for The Furman University Singers. She continued as accompanist until her graduation from Furman University in 1954 with a degree in Music. It was at Furman that she met the love of her life, James Furman Pollock, whom she married in 1954. Elsie and James made their home in Georgetown, SC where they raised their five children. Elsie was Choir Director with Screven Baptist Church in Georgetown in the early 1960’s, before being called as Organist and Choir Director with Prince George Winyah Episcopal Church, Georgetown in 1967. There she oversaw the purchase, design and installation of the Casavant Pipe Organ (Opus 2921) in 1968. She played this very special instrument and directed the choir of Prince George Winyah for over forty years. Elsie’s passion for music will live on for generations. She lovingly gave the gift of music to her entire community. She helped create the Georgetown Chamber Music Society, which brought classical music concerts and recitals for all to enjoy. She encouraged appreciation of music and the arts to the young people of our community through her teaching piano, organ, choral music, and drama. Her home was a haven of blessing and peace for all who entered. Music filled the home every day. She taught piano in her home for over fifty years. She taught music in many other settings, including First Baptist Church School of Georgetown; Teach My People, a community outreach in Pawleys Island, SC; and Holy Cross Faith Memorial Episcopal School with Mrs. Ruby Forsythe, also known as “Miss Ruby’s School.” Dozens of Elsie’s students have gone on to have careers in music, thereby continuing her legacy. Elsie encouraged all of her students to strive be the best at what the do, and to always give back to others and their community. While with Prince George Winyah, Elsie began the tradition of the annual singing of Handel’s Messiah. Singers and instrumentalists came from all over Georgetown County and beyond blending together in this beautiful and sacred work. The singing of Handel’s Messiah continued as a community Christmas Season event for fifty years. Elsie has also served as Organist and Choir Director with Holy Cross Faith Memorial Episcopal Church in Pawleys Island, and Saint James Santee Episcopal Church in McClellanville. She substituted or was interim organist for many other churches. Elsie was the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions. Elsie was the first member of the Steel Magnolias of South Carolina, an organization which recognizes women who exhibit compassion for their communities through volunteerism, for her volunteer work with Teach My People, of Pawleys Island. She was also the first recipient of the Distinguished Artist Award, given by the Indigo Choral Society of Georgetown, SC. She was awarded the Key to the City of Georgetown in 2005, and November 17, 2005 was declared “Elsie Blackwell Pollock Day” by the Mayor of Georgetown. Thousands of people have heard her play piano concertos with the Greenville, SC; Florence, SC; and Wilmington, NC symphonies. She has the distinct honor of being one of the few non-members of the Mormon Church to play the Salt Lake Tabernacle Organ in Salt Lake City, UT. Elsie is preceded in death by her beloved husband James Furman Pollock; and her brother Dill Broadus Blackwell. She is survived by her children James Reese (Jim) Pollock, Jeffrey Lewis Pollock, John Blackwell Pollock, Lyn Furman Pollock Kochie, Nancy Elizabeth (Beth) Pollock; her grandchildren Jennifer Lyn Kochie Kelly, Catherine Joann Kochie, and James Robert Kochie; and her great-granddaughter Laya Rose Kochie. She is also survived by her sister Nancy Bourne Agner, and her brother Reece Croxton Blackwell, Jr., and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Elsie’s name to Teach My People (https://www.teachmypeople.com) Post Office Box 2848, Pawleys Island, SC 29585; or The Indigo Choral Society (https://www.indigochoral.com) Post Office Box 394, Georgetown, SC 29442.
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Memorial Service

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Friday, February 24, 2023
Holy Cross Faith Memorial Episcopal Church
113 Baskerville Drive
Pawleys Island, South Carolina, United States
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Elsie Pollock

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