Carol Elaine Stone Gafford was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, on February 1, 1939, to the late Royce and Agnes Booker Stone. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in piano performance magna cum laude from Fisk University, where she studied with Dr. Matthew Kennedy and organ with Dr. Arthur Croley. As a student at Fisk University, she was a member of the world-renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers.
Carol attended graduate school at Indiana University’s Jacob School of Music, where she studied with Professors Walter Robert and Menahem Pressler and received the Master of Music degree Piano Performance and awarded the Performance Certificate with distinction. She also completed her course work and recital requirements for the Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance.
As a concert artist, she performed on radio and television broadcasts in the United States and the Middle East. She also performed with the Nashville Symphony, under the baton of Maestro Jay Dawson and the late Thor Jackson. She performed in the Black Music Seminar at Indiana University. In 1983, the Davidson County Business and Professional Women’s Association chose her as the Women of the Year.
Carol’s collegiate teaching career began on the piano faculty at Southern University, Baton Rouge. She later relocated to Nashville to teach at Tennessee State University, influencing many students’ lives through her gift of teaching and nurturing, until her retirement in 2008 as an Associate Professor of music and piano department division chair.
For the last 26 years, Carol was married to her dear husband, and retired Fire Chief of Lavergne Fire Department, James Carlton Gafford. She was predeceased by her sister, Delores Snorton, and nephew, Royce Snorton. She is survived by two adopted sons, Brandon Boyd and Robert Kimbrough (Tammy); one adopted daughter, Clarissa Arthur, and a very close friend and brother for over 35 years, Alexander Arthur; sisters-in-laws, Sherrie Tibbetts and Joyce Carolyn Williams; brother-in-law, Edward Daniel Gafford; and dear friends, Johnny and Angela Butler, Diana Poe, and Ralph Simpson.
Carol touched many lives through her ministry of music and her love for Jesus Christ. In 2007, she and her husband, James founded The Lord’s Frontline Disciples Foundation (LFD), an organization that provides assistance to churches, ministries, and missionaries around the world, where she served as the secretary and pianist. She was also a member of Word of Life Christian Center, International, Nashville, Tennessee.
Funeral services will be Wednesday at Woodfin Chapel in Smyrna at 11:00 a.m. Dr. Alexander Arthur will officiate. A private burial will take place in Christ Church Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee.
Visitation will be Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Woodfin Chapel in Smyrna.