In Memoriam

Consuela Edmonia Lee (1926-2009)

Consuela Lee, a highly acclaimed jazz pianist and educator, died late last year in Atlanta from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. She was 83 years old.

Lee’s grandfather, a graduate of Tuskegee Institute, was the founder of the Snow Hill Institute, near Selma, Alabama. The institute offered both an academic curriculum and vocational training. The school closed in 1973.

Born in Tallahassee, Florida, where her father was the band director at Florida A&M University, Lee spent most of her early years on the Snow Hill campus in Alabama. She started to play the piano at age 3. After graduating from Snow Hill Institute, she studied music at Fisk University and Northwestern University. After completing her formal education, she taught music theory and composition at Alabama State University, Hampton University, Talladega College, and Norfolk State University.

In June 1980 she returned to her roots and opened the Springtree/Snow Hill Institute for the Performing Arts. The school offered daily after-school music programs and summer institutes. The school operated until 2003.

Filmmaker Spike Lee is the son of Consuela Lee’s brother. She was the music supervisor for Spike Lee’s film School Daze.

Maurice Hope-Thompson (1941-2010)

Maurice Hope-Thompson, a professor at Texas Southern University and host of a daily news program and a popular weekend talk show, has died at the age of 68.

Hope-Thompson, a native of Jamaica, was a graduate of the Boston College Law School, where he was one of the founders of the Third World Law Journal. He taught in a high school in Houston and then at Prairie View A&M University before joining the faculty at Texas Southern University in 1995. He taught classes in the university’s School of Communications. He hosted a daily 6 a.m. news program on KTSU, the college’s radio station, a Saturday radio talk show, and other public affairs programming.

Simon Rogers Wiltz (1946-2010)

Simon Rogers Wiltz, former head of the architecture department at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, died in an automobile accident in Houston. He was 63 years old.

Wiltz was a native of Houston but went to Nashville to study at Fisk University. He graduated from Fisk in 1968 with a degree in physics. He later graduated from the School of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He returned to Houston and, with a partner, opened an architectural firm. He joined the Prairie View faculty in 1982 and became head of the department in 1990. At the time of his death, he was teaching part-time while maintaining his architectural practice.