Earleen McKee Monaghan, who was born and raised in Three Rivers, died Saturday, April 1, in her home at Park Merced Assisted Living. She was 89.
A memorial service will be held Tuesday, April 11, at 11 a.m., at the First Church of God in Atwater. Interment will be Wednesday, April 12, 1 p.m., at Three Rivers Cemetery.
Earleen was born June 20, 1927, at home in Three Rivers to Earl A. McKee (1891-1946) and Edna B. Finch McKee (1893-1986).
Earleen was a gifted musician who developed her early piano skills by accompanying her grandfather, renowned Three Rivers fiddler “Grandpa Finch.” She spent her teen years singing and playing piano with numerous dance bands in Three Rivers and the surrounding area.
Earleen was educated at Three Rivers Union School and graduated from Woodlake High School. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music with a minor in Education from Fresno State College in 1949. In 1950, Earleen received her Master of Arts degree in Music Education from New York’s Columbia University.
In 1952, Earleen married Daniel Earl Monaghan. From 1955 and 1961, the couple had four children.
Earleen endeavored to spread the joy of music to thousands upon thousand of students in the Livingston and Atwater schools (Merced County) throughout the years. By sharing her talent and love for music through fun and enthusiastic instruction, many of those students have passed their love for music onto their children.
Earleen began her career as the choral music instructor at Roosevelt High School in Fresno and Turlock High School. She taught band and classroom music for the Livingston Union School District and classroom music for the Atwater School District, as well as spent many years as the director of music at the United Methodist Church in Turlock and the First Christian Church in Dundee, Ore. In addition, she played the piano for the New Life Community Church in Atwater for many years.
Earleen also provided private lessons in her home to several generations of music students. She possessed a true passion for music and music education with the belief that music has the power to enrich the soul. Earleen’s family and students will forever remember her ever-present positive, fun-loving, kind nature.
In 1971, Earleen was preceded in death by her husband of 19 years, Daniel. In 1979, Earleen married Harold March. Harold died in 1983.
Earleen was also preceded in death by her eldest sibling, Blanche McKee Maloy (1915-2004).
Earleen is survived by her four children, Mary Monaghan and husband Jeffrey Stopper, Dan Monaghan and wife Cathy Lanum Monaghan, Frank Monaghan and wife Lorraine Kubo Monaghan, and Jim Monaghan; six grandchildren; one great-grandchild; her brother, Earl A. McKee Jr., of Three Rivers; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be to Hinds Hospice, 410 W. Main St. #A, Merced, CA 94340.