Marian Hurst recently closed her hymnal, covered the keyboard and stepped away from the church organ she has played for 57 years and about 3,000 services at Emmaus Lutheran Church in Wauseon.
The 86-year-old great grandmother has provided inspirational music for weddings, confirmations, funerals, and weekly church services since her family moved to Wauseon from Napoleon in 1964.
She took on the role unexpectedly when her husband Larry, a church elder, volunteered her talents when both church organists retired at the same time. A mother of three daughters with six grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren, Hurst also worked full time for three decades while continuing her weekly music responsibilities.
She would also practice alone in the church every week to ensure she had the feel of upcoming music selections.
“I was by myself, and it was quiet in the church. That focus helped me make sure I didn’t play too many stinkers on Sunday,” Hurst said with a smile.
During these six decades, Hurst adapted to new music, new hymnals, a new church organ and changing music tastes. She was a trusted anchor for new pastors and helped them choose music and understand parishioner favorites.
“I’ve enjoyed playing all these years,” she said. “But my eyes are not good—and the weekly commitment has become challenging for me. So, it’s time for me to be done.”
Emmaus Lutheran Church in Wauseon will recognize Hurst for her many years of service during its Sunday, Sept. 26 programs.
The church is located at 841 North Shoop Ave.