It is with great sorrow that the Music Opportunity Program (MOP) mourns the loss of a dear family member, Mrs. Emil Hess. Mrs. Hess, whose given name was Shirley, was long known by her nickname “Jimmie”. She was a current and longtime MOP board member, benefactor and friend to this program. Mrs. Hess moved to Birmingham after World War II with her late husband of 55 years, Emil Hess. Described by her family as her husband Emil’s silent partner in the family business Parisian, Mrs. Hess was also very active in the community.
Jimmie first became involved with MOP at its inception as the Alabama Symphony Education Division. She was, from the beginning, both a benefactor and board member. She started the Sidney Seidenman fund in honor of her father, a violinist, to provide instruments for young string students. Her commitment to music education for children was nowhere more exemplified than with her donation of Mr. Seidenman’s violin to the Music Opportunity Program.
In 1993 when then the Alabama Symphony Orchestra ended in bankruptcy, Jimmie and Emil were instrumental in ensuring its survival by helping find a new home for MOP. In the late 1990’s, Mrs. Hess and her family members created an endowment for MOP, ensuring it continued to provide string education to the children of Birmingham
Jimmie continued as an active member of the MOP Board of Directors until her death at the age of 91 on January 21st. She remained a staunch supporter of MOP and its primary mission to bring the opportunity for music education to as many children as possible. She truly provided the “opportunity” in the Music Opportunity Program and for that we will all be forever grateful.
Jimmie will be remembered as a wonderful, vibrant, dedicated member of the community. In addition to a large extended family which includes 25 great grandchildren, she leaves those of us whose lives she touched as her countless number of friends.
The family has asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the charities Jimmie championed. One of those charities is MOP. If you would like to make a donation to MOP in memory of Jimmie Hess please address your contribution to:
Music Opportunity Program
2316 7th Avenue North
Birmingham, Al 35203
Or on our website.