In Memoriam

Editor’s note: To make the online memorials special, we accept articles written by someone in the branch. Include fond memories, appreciation for her activities in the branch, whether she was an art, letters or music member, and something about her creative works and achievements. Always include date and age at time of death. Please also send photos of the member and of her work, or commentary about her creativity. Email Web site manager


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 We honor the lives of these, our departed Pen Women:




Fall 2017 In Memoriam

Kay O. Cornelius, Letters Member, Huntsville Branch

Kay Cornelius, a charter member of the NLAPW Huntsville Branch and who served as the Alabama State Association President from 1998 to 2000, passed away on January 23, 2017 at the age of 84.

She was a respected teacher and very successful author who had lived in Huntsville for most of her life.

Kay graduated from George Peabody College in Tennessee (now a part of Vanderbilt University). It was there that she met her future husband, Don.  After receiving her bachelor’s degree in English, she taught two years in Nashville and 23 years in Huntsville (at Central Junior High, Ed White Junior High, Grissom High, and Lee High) during which time she earned her M.Ed degree.

During the summers, Kay wrote short stories, prose, historical articles, and eventually novels and biographies, over 20 books. After retirement, she devoted herself to full-time researching and writing.

Some of her most notable works were Love’s Gentle Journey, Toni’s Vow, Twin Willows, Anita’s Fortune, and Francis Marion: The Swamp Fox.

Notable Awards:

– Sullivan Award (Peabody College, 1952)

– In May 1998, the Academy for Lifetime Learning at the University in Huntsville profiled Kay.

– Kay’s Great-Great Grandfather fought in the Civil War Battle of Champion Hill on the Confederate side. She was awarded a Commemorative Medallion that honored descendants of those who fought in the Battle.

We will truly miss this lovely Christian lady who possessed a great sense of humor and outstanding ability to tell stories that captivated and inspired her many readers.

Submitted by Jane Allen, Huntsville Branch

Stella “Maurine” Vance Geldmacher, Art Member, Southeast Louisiana Branch

Maurine passed away August 19, 2017 at the age of 95, in Lafayette, Louisiana, where she built her new life after losing her home to hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Maurine exhibited in many shows and received numerous awards over the years in watercolor, oil and mixed media. She received the Le Grand Award from Le Petiit Art Guild in New Orleans. She has had many write-ups in the New Orleans Times Picayune. She has won best of show in three juried exhibits. In 2008 she traveled to the Holy Land and later had a solo show at the Lafayette Art Gallery displaying 20 scenic paintings from her trip.

Maurine said, “Art is extremely important to me. It is a release, a mentor, a friend, a Blessing. When I am inspired I can paint for hours and immerse myself in the painting. It is therapy and it restores my soul.”

Maurine will be dearly missed by the art community, but especially by her Southeast Louisiana pen sisters.

Submitted by Charlene Swift, SELA branch treasurer: Stella Maurine Vance Geldmacher obituary

Arlene Montgomery Spencer, Letters Member, Indianapolis Branch

Past Indianapolis Branch and State NLAPW President Arlene Montgomery Spencer passed away September 28, 2017. She was born October 23, 1927.

Arlene served in every office and board of the Indianapolis Branch since the 1990s and wrote the history of our Branch which started in 1923. She was a willing worker and gracious hostess of poetry and history programs for the Branch. We will miss her greatly.

Read more: Obituary for Arlene Montgomery Spencer

Submitted by Jill Chambers, Indianapolis, IN Branch


Archives (by NLAPW date published):

Summer 2017

  • Gloria Huttner Ross, Art member, Southeast Louisiana Branch; Katie Wainwright, Southeast Louisiana Branch

Spring 2017

  • Liana M. Moonie, Art Member of the Greenwich, CT Branch

Winter 2017

  • Lois A. Charles, Diamond State, DE Branch; Carolyn Burton Landers, Atlanta Branch; Anne Lorraine Macdonald, Greenwich, CT Branch

Fall 2016

  • Pam Babcock, La Jolla, CA Branch; Lois Duncan, Sarasota, FL Branch; Harriet Foster-Parrish, Nashville Branch; Donna Freckmann, Pensacola FL Branch; Gayle Norton Hornsby, Nashville Branch; Dorothy Kishibay, Connecticut Pen Women; G. Arlene Silva Mattos, Modesto, CA Branch; Kathleen Alice Neal, Atlanta Branch; Margaret Lynch Siskow, Iowa City, IA Branch; Emily Virginia Blake Vail, Atlanta Branch