CHARLESTON--Ilene B. Maharg, whose love of music was surpassed only by love for her family, died on July 6 at The Village at Penn State in State College, PA. She was 94.
Born in 1925 to Harry and Fanne Levey, she grew up in Toledo, OH, where her interest in music began. The piano lessons she started in elementary school eventually led to acceptance into the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, OH. There, she studied music performance and in 1948 received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano and Organ. She was first in her family to complete a college degree, returning to the conservatory for two brief stints to teach piano lessons and music theory in 1949 and 1951.
At Oberlin she met John N. Maharg, who shared her passion for classical music. They married in 1949, moving first to Storm Lake, IA, where the pair taught at Buena Vista College, and then to Jonesboro, AR, where they taught at Arkansas State College. Early in their married life they also began working together as church musicians, Ilene playing the organ and John directing the choir.
In 1958 they landed in Charleston, IL, where they lived for 41 years. There, while raising four children, Ilene taught private piano lessons and served as church organist at the First Presbyterian Church in Charleston, the First Baptist Church in Mattoon, IL, and the First Christian Church, also in Mattoon. She worked as a secretary at Eastern Illinois University from 1979 to 1987.
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She spent four years in Elizabethtown, PA, her 52 years of marriage to John a point of pride. Following his death, she moved to State College to be closer to daughter Ruth Maharg and her family. As one of the earliest residents of The Village at Penn State, she spent many happy years there, performing piano concerts with Ruth for Village residents, enjoying residents' company, playing Scrabble with her children, and working out in the exercise room.
She is survived by her children and their spouses, Lois Maharg and Eric Burton, of Ann Arbor, MI; Ruth Maharg and Jeffrey Laman, of State College, PA; Mark Maharg, of Decatur, GA; and John Matthew “Matt” Maharg, of Elizabethtown, PA; by her grandchildren and their spouses, Hannah and Erika Davis, of Annandale, VA; Abby Laman-Maharg and Doug Totten, of Superior, CO; Ben Laman-Maharg, of DeKalb, IL; and Alan Maharg, of Decatur, GA; by her great granddaughter, Celeste Ilene Totten, of Superior, CO; and by her sister and brother-in-law, Lois and Dick Pio, of Hermosa Beach, CA.
Donations in her name can be made to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and to the Benevolent Care Fund at The Village at Penn State. A memorial service celebrating her life will be held at a later date.