Follow Us

Obituary for Frances Murray Bedford

September 17, 1924 – April 6, 2023

Frances Murray Bedford, 98, died on April 6, 2023, in Caledonia, Wis.

Frances Murray Bedford
Frances Murray Bedford

Frances was born at Murray Hill Farm near Oregon on Sept. 17, 1924, to Avon Herschel and Mabel Jean (Milne) Murray. She graduated as valedictorian from the Oregon schools and received a B.S. in Music Education from the University of Missouri. She was a member of Mortar Board, an honor society for college senior women. She later attended American University, Washington, D.C., and Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, where she received a Master of Music degree in harpsichord.

On Dec. 21, 1946, she married Emmett Bedford in Columbia and continued graduate studies while teaching as an instructor in music at the University. After his graduation, they lived in Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C., where he was a Washington newsman and member of the National Press Club and the White House Correspondent’s Association. As a result, the couple enjoyed several White House social engagements.

Frances taught piano and was a supervisor of piano teachers in the Montgomery County (Maryland) schools, and later taught at Southern Illinois University. She retired as emeritus professor of music from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside after 24 years. Her long tenure of service and support of the Music Department resulted in the University naming the campus’s new performance hall, the Frances Bedford Concert Hall.

Her career included U.S. concert tours with her son, oboist Monte Bedford, as The Bedford Duo (harpsichord-oboe). They also played in cooperation with the U.S.I.A. for ambassadors and consulates in Europe and later told many anecdotes of their performances during the 1980s in eastern European countries behind the Iron Curtain, where concerts by Americans were almost never heard. One of their concerts triggered an advanced bomb threat. The Duo commissioned and premiered a dozen new compositions written for them by various composers.

She has written four books, most notably “Harpsichord and Clavichord Music of the Twentieth Century,” and many articles and music reviews for professional journals. She was a member of the Midwestern Historical Keyboard Society and the Southeast Historical Keyboard Society and was a harpsichordist with the Racine Symphony and the Waukesha Symphony Orchestra. She served on the boards of the Choral Arts Society and the Racine Symphony. Her genealogical interests resulted in “The McDonald-Milne Family,” a history of her maternal ancestors.

On May 24, 2003, she married Richard A. Outland of Racine. Survivors include her daughter, Shelley (Leon) Miller of Denver, sons, Eric Bedford of Setauket, N.Y., Monte Bedford (Beverly Iverson) of Central, S.C., and step-daughters, Leslie Michelic of Appleton, Wis., and Lauren Outland of Inglewood, Calif. She was preceded in death by her first husband, Emmett, on Aug. 30, 2000, and by Richard on Nov. 29, 2020.


Relatives and friends may meet from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, 2023, at Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home in Racine, Wis. Burial will be in the Columbia Cemetery, Columbia, Missouri. Memorials may be made to the Frances M. Bedford Endowed Music Scholarship, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Kenosha, WI 53141.

A Celebration of Life is being planned to be held at UW-Parkside and will be announced.

Frances Murray Bedford – Life Panel® courtesy of Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home

Obituary and photo courtesy of Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home.

Local News

The Racine County Eye, which includes the Kenosha Lens, is your source for local news that serves our diverse communities. Subscribe today to stay up-to-date with local news.

Follow us on Facebook: Racine County Eye or Kenosha Lens, and Twitter to make sure you get the latest news.

Racine County Eye, Kenosha Lens banner