Valeria M. Pemberton


“Music is God’s gift to man; the only art of heaven given to earth, the only art of earth we take to heaven.”

Valeria M. Pemberton, 77, has taken her music to heaven with her passing Monday, Oct. 26, 2015.

She was being visited and comforted by her family members at Our Hospice of South Central Indiana in Columbus.

Valeria was born in Indianapolis on May 29, 1938. She was the first child, and first daughter, of Joseph and Ethel Stillings in Indianapolis.

Valeria’s musical career began at Decatur Central High School in Indianapolis, where she received a scholarship to enter the School of Music at Butler University.

She married Ora C. Pemberton on June 14, 1958, and soon transferred to Concord College in Athens, West Virginia, to pursue her talents in music and business education.

Valeria and Ora moved to Columbus in 1968, where she played the oboe in several community bands and orchestras.

While teaching piano at the Pemberton Piano Studio, Valeria helped her husband educate two children through Purdue University and Ball State University, as well as continue her own piano studies at Ball State University.

After 43 years of teaching piano in her own business, Valeria retired from teaching. She taught in the communities of Arlington, Zionsville and Columbus, as well as Princeton, West Virginia.

She then became the principal oboist in the Greater Greenwood Community Band and the Columbus City Band.

“It has been an enjoyable experience sharing the achievement and enthusiasm of the conductors, board members, staff and band members, as well as the listening audience.”

Valeria was an accompanist, piano adjudicator and staff member for district/state solo and ensemble contests for the Indiana State School Music Association. She was also an oboe instructor in Columbus and an organist for Zionsville Christian Church in Indiana and First Christian Church in Princeton, West Virginia.

Her musical talents led her to be a pianist in several dance bands, big bands and small combos in central Indiana, including Jack Hildreth’s Big Band Orchestra and Small Combo Band in Seymour.

She had been a substitute teacher in Boone, Marion and Bartholomew counties in Indiana as well as the children’s choir director at First United Methodist Church in Columbus.

The past and current professional memberships that Valeria held were Butler University Symphonic Band, where she was the oboe principal chair, Butler University Marching Band playing the clarinet, life member of Decatur Central Alumni Association, Piano Teachers Association of South Central Indiana, Music Teachers National Association and State/National Affiliation member, Purdue Extension Homemakers Club, Book Mark Literary Club of Columbus and Columbus Pro Musica Orchestra Advisory Board.

Valeria’s professional honors include National Honor Society at Decatur Central High School, Indianapolis, instrumental and academic scholarship recipient from Butler University, Indianapolis, and Indiana Music Education for principle instrument, piano, and secondary instrument, oboe.

“My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul.”

Calling will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at Jewell-Rittman Family Funeral Home, 3855 25th St. Columbus. Funeral services will be at noon Tuesday at First United Methodist Church, 618 Eighth St., Columbus, with the Rev. Howard Boles officiating. Visitation and music will begin at 11 a.m. in the church sanctuary. Burial will be at Garland Brook Cemetery, 501 N. Gladstone Ave., Columbus. A reception will be held at First United Methodist Church following the burial at 2 p.m. All are welcome.

Survivors include her husband, Ora C. Pemberton Jr.; a daughter, Robin L. Boester (Pemberton) of Fort Wayne; a son, Christopher K. Pemberton of Houston; daughter in-law, Jennifer A. Pemberton (Martzell) of Houston; grandchildren, Kyle M. Boester and Tori N. Boester, both of Fort Wayne, and Leah C. Pemberton and Gabriel C.H. Pemberton, both of Houston; and siblings, Dorothy J. Cardwell of Zionsville, Rose M. Gorman of Lady Lake, Florida, and Joe S. Stillings of Brownsburg.

Valeria was preceded in death by her parents.

Memorial donations may be made to Butler University, School of Music, 4600 Sunset Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46208, payable to Butler University with “School of Music” in the memo line.

The family would like for memorial floral arrangements to come from Fisher’s Flower Basket, 662 N. Gladstone Ave., Columbus, IN; 812-372-6688.

The family would like to express special gratitude to the staff of Our Hospice of South Central Indiana. The professionalism, care and compassion given to Valeria and her family during such a difficult time is greatly appreciated.