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February 16, 2009

Millicent Daugherty made an impact

Some people travel through life leaving a light imprint. Others stride through life, savoring each moment, giving joy and touching lives and communities deeply. This would describe Millicent Daugherty, who lived life to the fullest until the very last (2/12, Local, “Familial bond stood the test of time”). I knew her as a teacher and organizer, and she was brilliant at both. She demanded the very best from her students, and she got it.

She was everything a teacher should be: an expert in her field, a leader, compassionate, demanding, cajoling, caring and loving. Students wanted to do their best for her because they realized they were in the presence of greatness.

As well as the Music/Arts Institute she founded, she organized the music division of the George Caleb Bingham Academy of the Arts. On one of our field trips to the Kansas City Chamber Music presentation, I sat in front of her by several rows. We were asked to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It was not long until the magnificent voice of Millicent encouraged us to stop singing and to listen. After the concert, audience members sought her out to praise her.

Millicent’s imprint will last forever. Brilliance never dies.

Janice Malott



I'll never forget the entrance Millicent made when she was the soprano soloist in the Independence Messiah Choir's production of Handel's "Messiah" in December 1983. That was my first year singing with the choir, and as the contralto soloist strode into the auditorium wearing a very quiet, correct gown in a dove grey shade, Millicent swept in behind her wearing a magenta-purple gown with an enormous full skirt and puffed sleeves, with her beautiful fiery red hair piled high on her head. What an evening! I don't even remember the contralto soloist's name, but I surely remember Millicent. Rest in peace, great lady.

Elaine Hines

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