Heidi Ann (Morris) Pelkey, 53

Published 1:41 pm Friday, June 24, 2022

Heidi Ann (Morris) Pelkey — devoted wife, mother, daughter, and sister — passed away peacefully on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, following a seventeen-month battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 53. Heidi was born in Plainwell, Michigan, and was the daughter of Kathleen and Don Morris, both teachers. A skilled singer, pianist, and horn player, she attended Asbury University (1987-1991), majoring in vocal music education, and participating in band programs on campus and with the Salvation Army. She later completed a master’s degree in music education at Eastern Kentucky University. Heidi met her husband, Dr. Stanley C. Pelkey, while they were students at Asbury. They were married in 1992 and welcomed two children (Nathan and Madison) into their lives over the next seven years while living and working in Rochester, New York. For a quarter century, Heidi built a successful career as a K-12 choral and general music teacher while raising her children and, in the first years, supporting her husband through graduate school. She served a number of elementary, middle, and high schools, starting in Winchester, Kentucky, then in Penfield, New York, Ipswich, Massachusetts, Comstock, Michigan, Rochester, New York, and finally Tallahassee, Florida. She was also a part-time instructor at both Western Michigan University and the University of Kentucky, teaching courses on music for elementary education majors. Heidi’s former students remember her as a compassionate teacher who nurtured their love of music, taught them to respect each other, and mentored them as young professionals. Heidi often baked cookies for students, had pancake breakfasts, and hosted end-of-term, home-cooked dinners for her college students and her husband’s, too. A highlight of her time teaching in Comstock were the annual trips to Chicago she organized for students and members of her women’s community chorus, during which they visited museums and attended musicals. She also regularly had her older choir students sing and perform for elementary schools to further share the love of music, and Heidi raised funds to fill her classroom in Rochester, New York, with new guitars. Heidi also remained active as a choir director and handbell director at a number of United Methodist Churches. She loved to sing and often performed duets with her father, or solos accompanied by her husband. She most recently served as Director of Traditional Worship at Centenary United Methodist Church in Danville, and before that, at Thomasville First United Methodist Church in Georgia. She was fond of preparing seasonal cantatas and was gifted at organizing productions incorporating singers, readers, and instrumentalists. She had an eye for detail and a heart for worship. Heidi loved to cook and sew, travel, see shows and movies, and spend time with family. She was also an avid fan of the Detroit Lions and Detroit Tigers. But Heidi was happiest when lovingly preparing large meals for a houseful of guests. A competitive game player, she also took great delight in besting her family at cards and board games. A devoted Christian throughout her life, Heidi took comfort during her recent illness in the knowledge of the steadfast love and mercy of her Lord. She continued to lead hymns for Centenary United Methodist’s traditional worship services in her final months, as she was committed to using her musical gifts for others as long as she could. Heidi’s faith made her an endless optimist, and she always tried to see the best in others. She worked hard to pass this attitude on to her husband, children, and students. Her willingness and capacity to help others was infectious. She had a servant’s heart and the skills and abilities of an artist and general. Heidi is survived by her husband, Stan Pelkey (Nicholasville); her son, Nathan Edward Pelkey (Trish Marley, girlfriend) (Buffalo, New York); her daughter Madison Kay Pelkey (Derek Sunderland, boyfriend) (Buffalo, New York); her mother, Kathleen Morris (Lapeer, Michigan); her sister, Sally Morris Wilkinson (Thad Wilkinson) (Florida); her mother-in-law, Alta Jean Pelkey (Nicholasville); nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, cousins, and cherished, life-long friends. Heidi was loved by so many; her smile, laughter, and care for others will be greatly missed. Visitation to be held July 9, 10:00 to 11:30 AM, with memorial service to follow at 11:30 AM at Centenary United Methodist Church in Danville, Kentucky. Memorial contributions can be made to the Heidi Pelkey Scholarship Fund. Asbury University, Office of Institutional Advancement, One Macklem Drive, Wilmore, Kentucky 40390. Please list “Heidi Pelkey Scholarship” in memo. A Guestbook is available at www.wlpruitt.com.