ROCKLAND, Maine – Louise (Jones) Ferragut Koszalka, May 12, 1914, to Oct. 31, 2014, passed away peacefully at home with her family.
She led a rich life as a musician, teacher, civil rights activist, active union member (teachers’, musicians’, electrical workers’ unions and auxiliary of National Maritime Union), and had a passion for making lives better for working people, the unemployed, the oppressed. Before World War II she joined the Communist Party and their fight against Hitler and fascism. She never lost her vision for a kinder, more just and peaceful world.
Louise was born in Hanover, N.H., to Raymond Watson Jones and Karen Elise Monrad. She graduated from Smith College in l936 and did graduate work at Smith and the University of Wisconsin. She played violin in the New Orleans and San Antonio symphony orchestras. In Philadelphia she found her love of chamber music playing viola in various chamber groups. Always eager to try new things, she studied jazz violin as well, with John Blake in Philadelphia. Louise taught stringed instruments in the Philadelphia public schools for many years.
Upon moving to Rockland in 2000 to live with her daughter, Norma Ferragut Athearn, and son-in-law, Alan Athearn, she continued to teach recorder and strings into her 90s, learning to write music for her students on the computer.
At 100 Louise still played with her weekly string quartet whenever she could. When blindness prevented her from reading music, she played by imitation, memorization and improvisation. A celebration of her life took place for her 100th birthday, as many friends, family and well-wishers came to greet her and hear some Mozart with her string quartet, as well as pieces played by her recorder group. Friends far and wide sent her warm greetings and memories. Her grandchildren remembered especially fondly such things as “taking us camping and hiking, telling us of adventures like her 1,000-mile bicycle trip from Wisconsin to New Hampshire, playing “Say, Say, Say” on the electric violin, learning how to juggle, beating us at word games and card games … her contagious laugh.” She enjoyed her celebration very much and felt truly blessed.
Louise was predeceased by her first husband, Maurice Ferragut Leon, a merchant seaman who died in World War II; her second husband, Alexander Koszalka, a violinist, in 1974; and two brothers, William Vincent Jones and Edward Monrad Jones.
Besides her daughter and son-in-law, Louise is survived by three grandsons, Steven Athearn of Rockland, Eric Athearn of Jacksonville, Fla., and Kevin Athearn and wife Lisa Joniak Athearn of Machias; two great-grandchildren, Nicholas and Lauren Athearn of Machias; and several nieces and nephews in Ohio and Maryland and their families.
No memorial service is planned. Contributions in Louise’s memory may be made to Kno-Wal-Lin Hospice Care, 170 Pleasant St, or to Knox County Health Clinic, 22 White St, both in Rockland, ME 04841.