WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – Williams Baptist College has established a new scholarship fund, following a gift from the estate of the late Mary Frances Speakes of Siloam Springs, Ark. Williams recently received $32,500 from the Speakes estate, to be applied toward scholarships for WBC students.
Ms. Speakes died last year at the age of 95. Born and raised in Siloam Springs, she taught music at Siloam Springs Elementary School for 42 years, and she taught piano lessons for 65 years. She also played the organ at Siloam Springs First Baptist Church for more than half a century.
“Mary Frances Speakes had a true servant’s heart for God. She gave her life to teaching music in school, at church, and in her home. She always encouraged children and students to develop their musical talents for the glory of God and for ministry,” said Reece Watson, pastor of worship & music at the church.
“She served as organist at First Baptist Church Siloam Springs for 55 years before she had to stop playing for health reasons. Fifty-five years of playing two Sunday services, plus revivals & funerals means she played the organ in well over 5,500 worship services at FBC. I can only imagine how many hours she spent in rehearsals and practicing, all for the glory of the Lord!”
Williams has established the Mary Frances Speakes Scholarship Fund in her memory. It will benefit students at WBC who need financial assistance.
“We are deeply grateful to receive such a generous gift from the estate of Ms. Speakes and honored that she would remember Williams Baptist College in this way. It seems incredibly fitting that someone who touched countless students through her life would continue to bless college students through her estate,” said Dr. Brett Cooper, vice president for institutional advancement at WBC.
Williams is a four-year, liberal arts college in Walnut Ridge.