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Eileen E. Twynham, music teacher, composer and poet, dies

Eileen E. Twynham, a music teacher, composer and poet who collaborated with her late husband and organist, Robert Twynham, died Feb. 14 at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center of complications from a stroke. The Parkville resident was 88.

The former Eileen Dorothy Ernst, who was the daughter of Erwin Ernst, a Brooklyn Eagle newspaper typesetter, and his wife, Ernestine Ernst, a homemaker, was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y.

She was a 1948 graduate of Bishop McDonnell High School in Brooklyn and earned a degree in music in 1952 from Hunter College.

While teaching music at St. Barbara’s High School in Brooklyn, she met and fell in love with her future husband, choirmaster, Robert Twynham, whom she married in 1962.

“He trained a boys’ choir there, and I walked into St. Barbara’s one day and I was bowled over,” she told The Baltimore Sun at the time of her husband’s death in 2011. “I thought, ‘This is the real thing.’ ”

After moving to Reservoir Hill, Mrs. Twynham earned a master’s degree in theology from St. Mary’s Seminary and University, and for years taught theology at Maryvale Preparatory School in Brooklandville, while her husband served as music director and organist at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.

The couple collaborated on numerous liturgical compositions for which Mrs. Twynham wrote the poetry. Their most celebrated work, “Magnificat,” was commissioned by the Baltimore Choral Arts Society in 1980 and includes her original poems juxtaposed with the traditional Latin texts.

She was a co-founder in 1974 of the Chamber Music Society of Maryland.

A resident of Reservoir Hill for more than 50 years, Mrs. Twynham also wrote poetry about life and her spirituality. Since 2012, she had been living at Oak Crest Village in Parkville.

In addition to her music and poetry, she enjoyed flower arranging and cooking.

A memorial Mass for Mrs. Twynham will be offered at 11 a.m. May 18 at St. Gregory’s Roman Catholic Church, 224 Brooklyn Ave. in Brooklyn.

She is survived by two nieces, Kathy Ernst of West Brattleboro, Vt., and Rose Marie DeCicco of Miller Place, N.Y.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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