Elva Dyer Forman, 90, of Harrisonburg, passed away peacefully at her home on March 19, 2013, after a lengthy illness. She was born at home to Newman H. and Canary (Hylton) Dyer in Excelsior, W.Va., on July 31, 1922. She grew up in Bartley, W.Va., where her father was the physician for the local community and coal miners. She graduated from Big Creek High School in 1939.
Elva studied violin and viola at an early age and attended The National Music Camp in Interlochen, Mich., performing with the camp orchestra at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. In 1941, she graduated from Ward-Belmont College, Nashville, Tenn., before transferring to West Virginia University, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree and teaching certificate.
She married Alexander Hardie Forman on Sept. 8, 1945, and they lived in several cities in the eastern U.S. before settling in Pittsfield, Mass., where they raised their family. In addition to being a fantastic mother, Elva played viola in several community orchestras, including The Berkshire Symphony. Her teaching career began in 1965 in a one-room school and progressed to being a music teacher at North Junior High School, where she retired in 1986.
Elva and Hardie looked around the country for their ideal retirement community and settled in Harrisonburg, Va., where they developed a close and supportive group of new friends. She and Hardie enjoyed the musical opportunities at neighboring Eastern Mennonite University and for several years, she played in the school’s orchestra. Elva had a longstanding interest in P.E.O. and was a charter member of the Harrisonburg chapter. A few months before her death, she was presented with her 50-year membership award. As their health slowly declined, Elva and Hardie moved down the hill to The Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community (VMRC) enjoying the support and fellowship of the community there. She was a member of The First Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg.
Elva is survived by her son, Richard, and his wife, Katherine Coolidge, and their sons, Alexander and Jesse; son, Paul, and his wife, Dari, and their son, Seth and wife, Brooke, and Elva’s great-grandchildren, Bowdoin and Stanley; daughter, Jane DeChants and husband, Peter, and their children, Carolyn and Charles; and sister, Dorothy Grubb.
Elva was predeceased by her husband, Alexander Hardie Forman; her parents; her sister, Ruby Carter; and her brother, Dr. Allen Dyer.
Elva’s family would like to thank all of the people who provided exceptional care and caring and made it possible for Elva to spend her remaining days at home. In particular, we would like to thank her friends at VMRC, and the aides, nurses, hospice workers and doctors who helped to preserve her quality of life and dignity.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Good Samaritan Annual Fund, c/o The VMRC Foundation, 1491 Virginia Ave., Harrisonburg, VA 22802, or the Music Department, Eastern Mennonite University, 1200 Park Road, Harrisonburg, VA 22802, attn: Office of Development, or The P.E.O. International Education Loan Fund-VA Chapter BR, 3700 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50312-2819.
A service celebrating Elva’s life will be scheduled for late April at VMRC.
Arrangements are under the care of Kyger Funeral Home in Harrisonburg.