Laura M. Kirven, 102 of Macungie, PA formerly of Silver Spring, Maryland
transitioned from labor to reward on October 23rd with her family by her side. She
was born in Chester, PA on March 13, 1917 as Laura Arcenia Mattox, eldest child of
Ethel and James Mattox.
Growing up in Chester, Laura was influenced by teachers of multiple subjects
including music, mortuary science, and medicine. She developed a love for music
at the age of 9. Her mother supported Laura's passion for music by working to iron
shirts in exchange for 50 cent private piano lessons. Laura would spend time
practicing the piano and organ at the funeral home of a family friend and years later
work there as an organist and in mortuary services after her training. Her musical
talents and melodious soprano voice would become well known in Chester and her
CME church. After high school graduation, she pursued Fine Arts and Music at Lane
College in Tennessee. She later attended Hartford Conservatory of Music in 1939 on
scholarship. She received intense training in piano, organ, and voice. It was during
her studies that she met her husband, Phim Hall who was a fellow student and
Laura and Phim became well known on the concert and musician circuit within the
New England area; often mingling with legendary African-American musicians of that
time. When Phim became an active duty soldier, travels during wartime allowed
Laura to continue to give of her musical talents and also lend her talents in the field
of mortuary science. She also welcomed a new skill of motherhood with the birth of
the couple's first child, Philip.
Laura would eventually remarry and welcome three more children Michael, Maria,
and Francine. Finding herself a single mother a few years later, Laura drew from her
background and multiple talents to support her family and put her children through
college. These talents included being a self-employed seamstress and organist while
also holding positions in nursing, dentistry, and mortuary science. Her background
prepared her for a career in management within the University of Connecticut
Dental School. She became the first African-American woman to manage a dental
clinic in which she trained dental assistants, and influenced 3rd and 4th year dental
students and 2nd year residents. She was truly the definition of a multi-tasker and
phenomenal woman who shattered glass ceilings during her time.
After retiring in 1981, Laura remained active through various volunteer efforts. As
many know, she was not one to sit on the seat of do nothing. She volunteered
through the Foster Grandparent Program at Hartford Hospital in the Pediatric and
Neonatal wards. She became a recognized Commissioner with the Hartford
Commission on aging where she was a vocal advocate for senior citizens. Her love
for travel led to being a part of Elder Hostel in which she traveled to college
campuses countrywide to speak and indulge her love for learning. She also became
an Archivist and Art curator for the Charter Oak Jewish Center. Her hobby of
winning at slot machines found her traveling often to casinos on the East and West
Over the years, Laura was blessed with numerous grand children and great-grand
children and was present to partake in many special milestones. After 67 years of
residing in Connecticut, Laura moved closer to family in Silver Spring, MD and later
onto Macungie, PA where she resided with family until her passing.
Laura leaves behind a lasting legacy with family members and friends who will
always lovingly remember her. Daughters: Maria Jones (Jeffery)- Macungie, PA ;
Francine White-Silver Spring, MD. Son: Michael Kirven (Linda)- New Kensington,
PA. Grandchildren: Chanelle Wilson (Jacob), Shayla Santiago (Hasan), Devon
Jones; James and Foster White; David, Marcie and Bryan Kirven.
Great-Grandchildren: Lydia, Kayla and Josiah Wilson; Zayden and Juliana Santiago;
Sarah, Olivia, Valerie and Bryan (Jr.) Kirven. Grand and Great-Grand Nieces: Randi
and Jazmine Handy. Dearest friends: Mary and Jim Arnold and Ida McGhee. She
was predeceased by her son Phillip Hall. Brothers: James Mattox lll and John
Sleep on Laura and take your rest. We love you, but God loves you best.
Special heartfelt thanks to Laura's St. Lukes Hospice Team: Debbie Saab, Vanessa
Andre, and Ben Whary.
Funeral Services will take place on Saturday November 2, 2019 in the Main Sanctuary of Greater Shiloh Church 403 Pastor Fred Davis St. Easton, PA at 11AM. View at 10AM.
Private Interment after funeral services will take place in Springfield Cemetery, Springfield Massachusetts.
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