Obituary for Monica Lindley

Obituary by Lily Cabibi-Wilkin
Monica Lindley. Image courtesy of Emerson Funeral Home.

Monica Lindley died on February 18 doing what she loved. Minutes before she was supposed to accompany several members of Dr. Kristen Sullivan’s voice studio recital, she collapsed in the breezeway of the Fine Arts Center. She was taken to NEA Baptist where she was pronounced dead. Emily Trapp Jenkins, fellow collaborative pianist, filled in for her at the recital, playing for students including Kori Denison and Travis Moore.

A resident of Jonesboro, Lindley was a member, pianist and bandleader at Forest Home Church of the Nazarene for over 20 years. She taught kindergarten at Weiner Public Schools after earning a Bachelor and Master of Science in Education from Arkansas State University Jonesboro, and later taught history and civics at Nettleton Public Schools for 38 years.

After retiring, Lindley began working as a collaborative pianist at A-State, where she worked with vocal and instrumental music students as an accompanist. 

“Monica was an incredibly gifted musician revered in the church setting for many years,” said Dr. Marika Kyriakos, assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Communication. “When she agreed to explore the challenges of joining “the pack” at A-State as a collaborative pianist, she really stepped up to the plate, not only in working and performing with our students, but in being a warm, kind and comforting presence.”

“The thing I will remember most about Monica is her sweet smile, which she shared with everyone — students and faculty alike,” said Sandra Seay, assistant professor of voice and piano. “She was devoted to her family and dedicated to the students and teachers with whom she worked.  She was an extremely hard worker and very intelligent in many fields.  She had had a good sense of humor and used it subtly. She was a caring individual and a magnificent “caregiver.”

Dr. Lauren Schack Clark, department chair and professor of piano, also remembers Lindley fondly. “Even though we were colleagues, I would meet with Monica on a semi-regular basis to share what I knew about piano technique and about the repertoire, which was mostly art songs for voice and piano.” While Monica didn’t have a degree in music, she “was very knowledgeable, and interested in learning more all the time.  She was a delight to work with, and we would always have fun playing the piano together and talking about music. In addition, she was very sensitive to the needs of the students, and always made them her first priority.”

Another A-State accompanist, Hunter Mayberry, said he always loved to hear Monica play, because he knew she always prepared very carefully, did her very best, and really put her heart into everything she did.

Lindley is survived by her husband, Bob Lindley, and her children, Joshua and Kristin. Funeral services were held Sunday at Forest Home Church of the Nazarene.

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