Dr. Marie D. Boette devoted her life to music appreciation and education. To help ensure that area students interested in studying music in college could pursue their education, she established the Dr. Marie D. Boette Music Scholarship Fund at the Foundation.
Born July 27, 1895, in Parkersburg, Dr. Boette was the daughter of Henry Phillip and Emma Dorothea Buehler Boette. Music was integrated into Dr. Boette's life at a young age. Dr. Boette believed she inherited her musical gifts from her father, who was a singer and participated in the Germania Singing Society in Parkersburg. Her first taste of actively participating in music came when her family purchased a hand pump organ, and later, she began taking piano lessons. By the age of eight, she played piano in the St. John's Lutheran Church Choir, where she later became director and organist.
Dr. Boette graduated from Parkersburg High School and attended Thiel College in Greenville, Pennsylvania. She transferred to West Virginia Wesleyan College for her second year, and she later graduated. Following graduation, she became a music teacher and continued her music education. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from New York University and a Master of Arts degree from Ohio University. She held two honorary degrees, one from Davis and Elkins College and one from West Virginia Wesleyan College.
As a music teacher and head of Vocal Music at Parkersburg High School in 1932, Dr. Boette organized the first A Cappella Choir. She was also a significant figure in establishing the first All-State Chorus and All-State Orchestra in West Virginia. In 1936, she returned to West Virginia Wesleyan College to teach music and serve as Director of Choral Music. There, she developed West Virginia Wesleyan's first A Cappella Choir. Following several productive years at West Virginia Wesleyan, Dr. Boette left the college in 1947 to serve as the Organist and Director of Music at the First United Methodist Church in Huntington. In 1950, Dr. Boette returned to Parkersburg to become the Music Supervisor for all Wood County schools. Later, she brought her talents to the First Presbyterian Church of Parkersburg as organist and music director.
Dr. Boette was active in many civic and community organizations, and received numerous honors and awards in her lifetime. She organized the first Girl Scout troop in Parkersburg, and received a citation for contributing significantly to the Girl Scout movement. She was listed in "Who's Who in West Virginia" and composed the 1963 West Virginia Centennial Song. In 1993, Governor Gaston Caperton named her Outstanding West Virginian. Other organizations in which she was active included Ohio River Valley Chapter of Arts & Letters, the American Association of University Women, the Parkersburg Community Concerts Board, and the Blennerhassett Chapter of American Guild of Organists. An established author, Dr. Boette wrote several publications and presentations on music. The West Virginia Library Association honored one of her books, a compilation of folks songs called, "Singa Hipsy Doodle and other West Virginia Folk Songs."
In 1991, Dr. Boette created the Dr. Marie D. Boette Music Scholarship Fund with the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation to provide graduates of Parkersburg High School pursue a musical career in post high school education. Recipients of the Dr. Marie D. Boette Music Scholarship are selected on the basis of good character, leadership qualities, and an interest in and dedication to music. The scholarship is offered to a graduating senior from Parkersburg High School who is planning to attend a post-high school educational institution majoring in music, either instrumental or voice.
Dr. Boette passed away on November 21, 1995. Her scholarship fund is a reminder of the importance of the arts and a symbol of a local educator's love for education and our community.