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Obituary: Ethel Grace Blackwell

Fri, Mar 29th 2024 08:15 am

Ethel Grace Blackwell, age 95, of Lewiston, died Sunday, March 24, 2024, at Niagara Hospice House in Lockport.

She was born July 29, 1928, in Mildmay, Ontario, the daughter of the late Charles and Oleva (Schmidt) Jasper, and they moved to Lewiston shortly thereafter. Ethel attended Stella Niagara where she became an accomplished pianist in her teenage years. She memorized the Mozart Concerto, which was 54 pages, and played it at a recital with one of her teachers.

After high school, she received a music scholarship to Rosary College in Buffalo. She was a church organist and pianist at the Forestview Church of God for many years. She subsequently was the organist at many area churches, including Calgary Lutheran. She learned to master the pipe organ and there were many memorable moments in which her daughters would watch her practice in awe. She also played at many weddings and funerals and taught piano in her home.

Ethel's biggest enjoyment was when she transformed her music career in the 1960s by playing piano at many area entertainment venues such as Schrafts, Lotitos, The Park Hotel, as well as many places in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara on the Lake. She was in her heyday at this time and developed a faithful and enthusiastic following.

Ethel was known for her glamour, beautiful smile, and sensational piano music. She developed a strong sense of independence and was bursting with pride when she bought her first new car with her earnings. She raised her four children and continued to reside in Lewiston. In the 1970s, she frequented The Coat of Arms in Lewiston where she listened to her friend, Jerry D'Amico, and his jazz band. Ethel always enjoyed listening to other musicians perform, often noting what key a piece was in, and would critique the music as only a fellow musician could.

Ethel loved country music, jazz, classical and gospel, to name a few. In her later years, one of her most enjoyable activities was being driven by her caretakers along the river and marveling at its beauty.

She was a devoted and hardworking mother and will be remembered fondly by all who knew and appreciated her.

Ethel is survived by her children: Jeff (Patti) Blackwell, Sandy Blackwell Yates and Sharon Blackwell; by her six grandchildren; and by nine great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by a loving son, Robert Blackwell; and by a brother, Charles Douglas Jasper.

Friends may call at Hardison Funeral Home, N. Fourth and Ridge streets, Lewiston, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 3. Funeral services will follow at 11:30 a.m. in the funeral home, with the Rev. Ronald Maines officiating.

Interment will be in Riverdale Cemetery, Lewiston.

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