Mary Lou Beaman Paschal, 82, died on Sunday, May 7, 2017 of diffuse large B cell lymphoma. Daughter of Jonathan Homer and Fay Padgett Beaman, Mary Lou was born on January 27, 1935 and grew up in Marion, North Carolina. She graduated from Marion High School, received her Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, and Master of Music from The University of Mississippi, with further graduate studies at Winthrop and Harvard Universities.
For four years Mary Lou served as Organist, Choir Master and Director of Youth Work at First Methodist Church of Marion, and then moved to Charlotte as Organist and Assistant in Music at Myers Park Baptist Church for four years. During that time, she met her future husband, John S. Paschal, then a chemistry educator at East Mecklenburg High School. Upon their marriage on August 12, 1967, they spent a year in Swansea, Wales, where John was a Fulbright-Hayes Exchange Teacher at Gowerton Boys’ Grammar School. After their return to the States, Mary Lou taught at Winthrop University before being appointed in 1970 as a full time Music Instructor at Central Piedmont Community College, retiring on January 1st, 2001 as Division Director of Music, Art, and Design. During her tenure at CPCC, she also served for four years as Organist and Choir Director at Sharon United Methodist Church. While at CPCC, she founded the Early Music Program and co-directed the Recorder Ensemble until her death.
In 1995, she concertized in Hawaii, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand on a tour with her niece, flutist Teresa Beaman. In 2000, they performed in several European countries. In 2001, they toured New England, the South, and the Midwest. In 2002 they recorded and produced a CD, “Flute Flora.” In 2016 they performed in Oregon, California, Massachusetts, and North Carolina a program of favorite American folk songs that Mary Lou had arranged for flute and piano. They recorded and produced this program as the CD, “Down In the Valley.”
In addition to her parents, she was pre-deceased by her older brother, John H. Beaman, an internationally-renowned botanist. Her survivors include husband, John, son, David Paschal (George Nguyen), Sacramento, CA, niece Teresa Beaman (Dave Clarke), Fresno, CA, nephew Reed Beaman, Washington, DC., great nephew Ethan Beaman, and great niece Sydney Beaman of Gainesville, FL. Her first cousin, Virginia H. Palmer of Marion, NC, was an especially close friend and confidant. Among the many friends she acquired over the years, her very first was her next-door neighbor, who grew up with her, Patsy Teague Packett, of Raleigh, NC. They remained devoted “best buddies” to this day.
Mary Lou’s family would like to thank the many doctors, nurses, support staff, and caregivers who helped her through her last illness, especially Dr. Jonathan Levine and Dr. Nalanjan Ghosh of Levine Cancer Institute; the rehabilitation staff of Sardis Oaks who made her whole after her first round in 2015; and finally, the caring and compassionate staff of Levine & Dickson Hospice House in Huntersville during her last days.
A memorial service to celebrate the life of Mary Lou will be held on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 1:00 pm at Myers Park Baptist Church, 1900 Queens Road, Charlotte, NC. In lieu of flowers, please direct any memorial gifts to the Early Music Program of Central Piedmont Community College, c/o CPCC Foundation, PO Box 35009, Charlotte, NC, 28235, or to the cancer research fund of your choice.