Harriet Cook LeMaster died peacefully in her sleep on February 28, 2023, at her home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The daughter of the late Harry and Nellie Bugbee Cook, she was born August 1, 1925, in Mahaska County Hospital, Oskaloosa, Iowa. She attended grade schools in Manson and Mt. Ayr, Iowa, and graduated from Atlantic High School in 1942; during her senior year, she was elected homecoming queen. In the late 1930s, when her father purchased a Rexall Pharmacy, the family settled in Atlantic. Harriet graduated from Grinnell College in 1946 with a Bachelor’s degree in Music (piano) and a minor in French; music and French studies became her lifelong hobbies. She attended Columbia University Teachers College on an academic scholarship and received a Master’s degree in Music Education in 1947. Throughout her college years, she supported herself by working as an opera accompanist.
Harriet taught middle school music in Newton, Iowa, and moved to Neptune Beach, Florida, in 1949; she later settled in Ponte Vedra Beach, where she married Edward B. LeMaster, III, in 1955; they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2005. For most of her life, she was an active member of Christ Episcopal Church (she and her husband were the 7th couple to be married in the new church), serving as Senior Warden, Junior Choir Director, Altar Guild member, Adult Choir member, and Chalice Bearer; she also served on many other committees. The Beehive Kneeler, which symbolizes the order and organization of many people working for the common good, was a needlepoint project that took two years to complete! In the late 1950s, Harriet became a Girl Scout leader, continuing in that role through the 1960s and early 1970s. At Christ Church, she served as a relief organist, and at Vicar’s Landing she was a regular organist into her 90s. Her involvement with Jacksonville Symphony, The Metropolitan Opera, and French and Art History classes at JU and UNF continued well into her later life. For several years, she served on the board of the Jacksonville University Friends of the Library. Traveling (especially to France), boating, and fishing were among her many interests.
Harriet is survived by her children, Katie LeMaster and Ted LeMaster, both of Ponte Vedra Beach; and 3 grandchildren, Danielle LeMaster (Los Angeles), Wiley LeMaster (Atlantic Beach), and Forrest LeMaster (London, UK). She is also survived by her daughter-in-law, Dede Allen; her sister-in-law, Doris Cook, and her granddaughter-in-law, Jenny McGregor; 5 nieces, Terri Cook Thielen, Sarah Olsen, Barbara Andrews, Lisa LeMaster, and Lu LeMaster; and 4 nephews, Bruce Peterson, Mark Peterson, Josh LeMaster, and Ethan Baker. Harriet was predeceased by her husband, Edward B. LeMaster, III; her brother, Richard Cook; and her niece, Stephanie Peterson Baker.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, June 10, 2023, 11 am at Christ Church, 400 San Juan Drive, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, immediately followed by a Reception at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to The Harriet C. LeMaster French Scholarship, 1 UNF Drive, Jacksonville, Florida 32224. Ponte Vedra Valley Funeral Home in charge of arrangements. Burial in the LeMaster Family Plot, Palm Valley, Florida.