Ernestine Stewart at her baby grand piano

By Ann Ratliff, activity director


Magical fingers on the piano can produce miracles, for it has been said, “One melody can bring back a thousand memories.”


Born in Virginia 95 years ago, Ada Ernestine Stewart recently retired after 25 years as Alpha Baptist Church organist and chose to make Life Care Center of Morristown, Tennessee, her new home. She had one stipulation, though. She would need to bring her baby grand piano with her.


No problem! Arrangements were made to move the piano to our facility, where it now proudly nestles in the corner of the dining room.


Music has always been part of Stewart’s life, as has been that particular piano. Regardless of what her husband was doing while he was home, he always loved hearing Stewart play in the background. So whenever she would take a break, he would say, “Why did you stop?” One day he gave that new baby grand piano to her as a gift she continues to treasure.


Stewart’s husband was a piano tuner, so he asked her to accompany him on his tuning jobs. Stewart said he told her not to talk, but just sit there until he finished tuning. She happily did as he asked. After tuning, he would say to her, “Now, let’s test it.”


Then Stewart would play the piano to ensure he had it in perfect tune.


These days, Stewart walks into the dining room every morning to play her piano, and her fingers seem to glide effortlessly over the keys. She plays “Jesus Loves Me” and other hymns engrained in her memory.


Even though Stewart says music is such an important part of her life, she giggles and says she can’t sing high notes, but she can sing bass.


While at Life Care Center of Morristown, she has not hesitated to be involved in other activities, such as bingo, watching some of her favorite TV shows and enjoying visits from her church family, which has been quite attentive.


Sharing her talents at our facility, Stewart has brought great joy to others and has served as such an inspiration to us all.