Marilyn Spainhower Overbaugh

1930 - 

Marilyn Overbaugh, a pianist and organist, has provided worship service music in the Seventh-day Adventist church for over sixty years. Although mostly self-taught, she possesses a natural musical gift that she frequently acknowledges as a gift from God, one that has enabled her to inspire congregations as they worship and to musically assist at weddings and funerals.

Marilyn was born in Denver, Missouri, the oldest of five children born to Welbie (Web) Roy and Goldie Pauline Kerns Spainhower. She and her siblings grew up in a home where music was a central part of their lives. The whole Spainhower had an aptitude and natural ear for music. Her father and his brother had both sung on the radio, and when her two brothers were older, they sang with their father as a trio, while Marilyn accompanied them on the piano. The result was a home filled with the sounds of hymn singing and playing.

The family moved as needed during the trying times of the Great Depression so that the father could work as a carpenter. Marilyn attended Platte Valley Academy in Nebraska until the end of her junior year and then transferred to Auburn Academy when her parents relocated to Yakima, Washington, in 1947. During her time in academy she started playing piano and organ for services and accompanying soloists at school.

After her senior year at Auburn Academy in Washington, she moved to Pendleton, Oregon, where her parents had just relocated. She met Lewis Overbaugh at that time and they married the following year, in 1949. They lived in Pendleton until they moved to the Walla Walla Valley in Washington in 1957.

As she had in the Pendleton church, Marilyn plays for the College Place, Washington, SDA Village Church services, weddings, and funerals as a pianist and organist, and accompanies as needed.

One of her favorite activities is playing piano and organ duets with her sister, Dona Klein, who has been associated with the Kenneth Cox Ministries as their organist for many years. At a recent marriage ceremony that I attended they provided a seamless flow of music together, playing by ear, guided only by a handwritten listing of eighteen songs and the key they would be played in. The result was an impressive and sensitively played service.


Source: Interview with Marilyn Overbaugh, November 2010.