Published 9:38 am Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Former music teacher touched lives of many

On Monday, former Andalusia elementary music teacher Mrs. Nancy Floyd Schlehmeier was remembered as a music-loving, caring and fun teacher by former students. Shlehmeier battled cancer until Sunday, when she passed away.

Shlehmeier was well known and loved by the many students that she taught, as well as the co-workers with whom she taught in her 30-plus year career.

Mrs. Barbara Lankford, one of her fellow teachers, said that Schlehmeier always had a smile when anyone would pass her in the hall.

“She loved every child and was just a wonderful woman,” Lankford said. “She would drive all the way from Troy every day to work, but it didn’t bother her at all.”

Lankford said that it was Schlehmeier’s stress relief to drive back and forth everyday.

“She would think and, of course, pray during that long drive,” Lankford said.

Many of her former students shared thoughts about her on social media.

“I don’t know anyone who would say they did not like her music class,” Johnny Brewer wrote. “She used to let us bring recordings of music we liked and she would play them in class. I still remember Dwight Spivey bringing ‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor and we jammed out that day! She made music fun!”

Brewer, who is a music instructor and director of the LBW Ensemble, and brass instructor at Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps, said it was in her class that he first learned to love music.

Another former student, Abby Carter, wrote, “I’m so sad to say that Mrs. Nancy Schlehmeier passed away early this morning after a battle with cancer. She was oh so special and loved by so many, including me.

“To this day, 5th grade group singing ranks right at the top of my favorite childhood memories,” Carter write. “Looking back, I am always amazed that one woman at a piano could lead an entire auditorium of elementary students in song, but she was amazing and we loved her. Heaven just gained the best song leader ever. S-C-H-L-E-H-M-E-I-E-R.”

Mrs. Schlehmeir taught her students to spell her name by singing it to the tune of the Mickey Mouse Club song.

A spokesman for the Andalusia High School class of 1993 wrote, “She was the absolute total package as our music teacher who instilled the desire to sing, dance and perform! We were blessed to have her as out music teacher at East Three Notch and Church Street School.”

Caryl Lee Wilson Ray said that she watched a video of Schlehmeier playing the piano on Sunday.

“In my mind’s eye I am 8 years old sitting in the basement at Church Street School, in your music class,” she wrote. “Your long dark hair is swaying, you’re smiling as you teach us the words to a new song, a quick cut of those eyes stills the antics of the back-row.

“It is a privilege to be in this room, to be in your presence, to feel the pure joy and unconditional acceptance of such a vibrant person,” she wrote. “Teachers would use withholding our time with you as a punishment for bad behavior. It was a punishment no one ever wanted.”

Ray said that she could hear Schlehmeier playing from a stage in a cafeteria.

“I see my mama, Mary Wilson, leading with a snap and a point of those fingers. Y’all smile and laugh and share co-conspirator glances with one another. You swap places with each other seamlessly and songs of ‘Our Boys Will Win Tonight,’ ‘Caissons Go Rolling Along,’ and ‘Beautiful KKKK Katy waiting at the k-k-k-kitchen door,’ fill our ears, hearts, and memories.

“These days are tough for us because we feel like we’re being punished and withheld from spending time with you,” she wrote. “As I close my eyes I can see a red headed Mary and a dark haired Nancy laughing as their fingers fly over a heavenly keyboard. I can hear their sweet voices rise together and I can see their eyes cutting across to a King David on a harp telling him to step it up.”

Funeral services for Mrs. Schlehmeier will be held Tues., Jan. 30, at 11 a.m. at Dillard Funeral Home in Troy with the Rev. Rick Hayes and Dr. Robert Pullen officiating. Burial will follow in the Hales Chapel Cemetery.

Mrs. Schlehmeier is survived by her husband, Jeff Schlehmeier; daughter, Paula Wilson (Daniel); son, Chris Schlehmeier (Michelle); grandchildren Lee Parsons, Zack Wilson, Kelsi Schlehmeier, Madison Wilson and Hunter Schlehmeier; sisters, Barbara Holladay (Roy), and Dorothy Wilkins (Glen); brother, Mike Floyd (Kerry); and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and other family.