Mary Sigman, retired musician
Mary Taylor Sandefur Sigman, a well-known Jackson musician, died May 26, 2008, at Hospice Ministries in Ridgeland.
Funeral services were held May 30 at Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church with burial following in Lakewood Memorial Park. Wright & Ferguson Funeral Home handled arrangements.
Mrs. Sigman was born in Jackson on Jan. 30, 1923. She was a lifelong resident of the city. She was the only child of Mary Strickland Taylor Sandefur and James Robert Sandefur. Her father, who worked in the Mississippi lumber industry, died when she was 2-years old. Her mother attended the Detroit Conservatory of Music and served as choir director for Second (Calvary) Baptist Church.
Mary Taylor Sigman was well known in Mississippi as a model for music lovers and aspiring musicians. She was an accomplished carpenter, having learned the skills from an uncle as a young girl.
Mrs. Sigman began the study of piano at 6, and by the fifth grade served as pianist for chapel services at Poindexter Elementary School. In the seventh grade, she accompanied 400 junior high students in a production of the Messiah; in 1938, she was a pianist for the first city-wide performance of the Messiah. She sang the lead role in Central High School’s 1940 production of HMS Pinafore, and was a soloist for the Central High Chorus. She graduated from Belhaven College in 1944 with a double degree in music (voice) and math. She later studied at Chicago Musical College, Julliard School of Music and received a master’s degree in music education from Columbia University. She taught in the Jackson Public Schools and Belhaven College in addition to her many private students.
In 1952, she began a 45-year career as the organist at Galloway Memorial Methodist Church. In addition to the adult choir responsibilities, she accompanied Galloway’s youth choir and travelled on many youth choir trips all over the United States. Prior to her service at Galloway, she played the organ for Beth Israel Congregation, Trinity Lutheran Church, and Central Presbyterian Church. She was elected to the Chaminade Music Club in 1945, and performed many programs for voice, piano and organ.
She received many accolades over the years. She was honored by Belhaven College as its 1974 Alumna of the Year. In 1999, the Chaminade Club honored her for her 50 years of service as a member. On the occasion of her 45 years as organist at Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church, she was named organist emerita and presented with a gold key to the organ to be used at any time.
Retirement provided Mrs. Sigman the opportunity to accompany the Galloway Senior Notables and to develop the Orchard Singers Group. During each of the last 11 years, she traveled to Virginia to accompany one her four grandchildren in a solo and ensemble competition.
On Oct. 10, 1953, she married John Lynch Sigman in the Galloway Chapel. He died in 1992.
Survivors include: daughter, Katie Hendricks of Durham, N.C.; son, Charles Sigman of McLean, Va., and four grandchildren.
Memorials may be made to the Mary Taylor Sigman Memorial Fund at Galloway United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 1092, 305 N. Congress St., Jackson, MS 39215 or to Hospice Ministries Inc, 450 Towne Center Blvd, Ridgeland, MS 39158.