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Beloved matriarch of Louisville Seminary, Fannie W. Caldwell, dies at age 103

Feb 21, 2008

EDITOR'S NOTE: A Louisville Seminary memorial service for Fannie W. Caldwell has been set for April 18, at 10 a.m. in the Frank H. and Fannie W. Caldwell Chapel.

Fannie Wells Caldwell died in Charlotte, N.C., at her residence at Sharon Towers on February 15, 2008.

Born in Elizabethtown, Ky., September 9, 1904, she was the daughter of Fannie Robertson Wells and Starling Wells. She was the devoted and supportive wife of the late Rev. Dr. Frank Hill Caldwell, longtime professor and president (1936-1964) of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Together he and Mrs. Caldwell faithfully served the mission of the Seminary and the Presbyterian Church, particularly in efforts to reunite the denomination. Dr. Caldwell also served as Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S., and later as director of the Presbyterian Foundation when it was located in Charlotte. He died May 25, 1987.

In their years in Louisville, Mrs. Caldwell was active as an exemplary homemaker; a community volunteer; a leader in Presbyterian Women; and a member of Highland Presbyterian Church, where she was a Sunday School teacher.

She was a longtime participant in the Monday Afternoon Club, a study and literary group. Mrs. Caldwell was a thoughtful confidant to many in the Seminary community, and the Frank H. and Fannie W. Caldwell Chapel at Louisville Seminary was named in their honor in 1964. The Caldwell Lectureship, now part the annual Festival of Theology, was established in 1966, and the Frank H. Caldwell Professorship in Homiletics was funded in 1983. Then, in 1995, the Frank H. and Fannie W. Caldwell Society was established to recognize as its members others who have supported the mission of Louisville Seminary with a planned gift or bequest.

“Fannie Caldwell was revered by our constituents as a joyous, selfless, and tireless servant of the church. Generations of church people looked up to her as a winsome role model of Christian discipleship,” said Louisville Seminary President Dean K. Thompson.

A resident of Charlotte since 1964, Mrs. Caldwell has been active at Covenant Presbyterian Church as an elder; a community volunteer, a gracious hostess, a docent at the Mint Museum, and a longtime member of the Virginia Dare Book Club.

Mrs. Caldwell is survived by her children: Patricia Caldwell McKnight, Somerville, Tennessee; Anne Starling Caldwell, Memphis, Tennessee; John B. H. Caldwell, Richmond, Virginia; six grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1000 East Morehead St., Charlotte, at 11 o’clock in the morning, Saturday, March 1, 2008.

It has been the intention of Mrs. Caldwell to have her ashes interred with her husband’s near the front corner of the Chapel, “A sufficient marker,” the Caldwells said. A service will be held in Louisville at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 1044 Alta Vista Road, Louisville, Ky. 40205-1798; or to Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1000 East Morehead Street, Charlotte, N.C. 28204.

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