UWF Beyer Bio



March 9, 1928 – November 9, 1998

Elmira Mae Koehler was born on March 9 1928 in Chicago, IL to John and Christine Koehler. With little financial support, she attended Illinois Wesleyan University and worked as the University News Bureau Director while completing a Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance and Music Education. She graduated with honors as member of Phi Kappa Phi. In 1950, she earned a Master’s of Music at the University of Michigan in Music History and Piano Performance.   In 1982, she earned a Ph. D. from Oregon State University; her dissertation on Holistic Education is available at Oregon State University and the University of Michigan.

In 1950 she married her childhood sweetheart, Clarence “Cloudy” Beyer; they lived in Cave Junction and Portland, OR.   She served as Education Chair for the Oregon Symphony Auxiliary, President of the Glenwood Symphony Auxiliary West Hills, President of the East Glen Junior Women’s Club, Secretary-Treasurer of the Oregon Music Educators’ Association, board member of the International Society for Music Education, and organist at First Emmanuel Church. She was a member of the Oregon Symphonic Choir and the Music Educators National Council. Her extensive publications included three books.

Her teaching career spanned 25 years in Oregon and covered perceptual development and integrated art programs, guitar, chorus, band, orchestra, Suzuki violin, private piano, musical productions and general music from preschool to graduate school. From 1969 tom1985 Dr. Beyer researched learning problems and development of the right hemisphere of the brain. She developed two innovative curriculums, the Perceptual Development through Music and the Multi-Art Program for Exceptional Children to Develop the Right Hemisphere, which were adopted by several districts in the State of Oregon.

In 1986 she and her husband retired to Port Townsend, where she became a well-recognized community leader. She served as president of AAUW Port Townsend Branch 1992-1994 and under her leadership the branch established its non-profit foundation, the University Women’s Foundation of Jefferson County (UWF), for the purpose of endowing a scholarship fund for women returning to continue their education. She received the AAUW’s Woman of Excellence award in 1997 and was the group’s “Named Gift Honoree” in 1994.   She was a delegate to state, national and international conventions of AAUW and the International Federation of University Women.

She was president and board member of the Jefferson General Hospital Auxiliary, president and board member of Jefferson County Historical Society, a Paul Harris Fellow of East Jefferson Rotary and a member of the Port Townsend Yacht Club. In retirement she performed numerous piano benefit concerts and with many local musical groups.

The principal endowed scholarship awarded annually by UWF to a woman returning to school after partially completing her education, was named in Dr. Beyer’s honor by the members of AAUF/UWF to recognize her many contributions to the community and to AAUW, and in remembrance of her educational progress covering more than 30 years.