Phoebe Binkley was born in Memphis on July 26, 1937 and passed from this life on May 11, 2016 from complications of Post-Poliomyelitis Syndrome, although those in attendance would say her beloved Bob came to get her.
Phoebe is preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, Robert E. Binkley, her parents, Edith “Speedy” Towler and Jack Knox, editorial cartoonist for the “Nashville Banner”, and her brother, Jack Knox. She is survived by her son, Ed Binkley (Lisa) of Madison, WI, daughter, Carolyn Knox Binkley of Nashville, brothers Joseph Towler Knox (Jane) of Richmond VA, and Britt Alley Knox (Faye) of Woodbury, TN, “sister-in-love”, Anne Knox of Muncy, PA, grandchildren, Megan and Adrian Binkley of Madison, WI, brother-in-law, The Rev. Ben F. Binkley (Dee), of Louisville, KY, her precious nieces and nephews and dear family friend, Jenny Layne of Lebanon, TN.
Phoebe’s career began as a singer and pianist. Her performing career ranged from live radio to the opera stage. As a renowned soprano, she sang for several seasons with the St. Louis Municipal Opera and went on to perform and study in New York. It was at Theatre Nashville where she received an eleventh hour call from musical director and future husband, Bob, to fill in for the lead in Puccini’s opera, La Bohème. She was also recognized as a songwriter, with many of her songs recorded by country music star Marty Robbins. One of the projects closest to her heart was Belle!, the musical she wrote with her sister-in-law, Ella Prince Knox. Ultimately, Phoebe was most widely known as one of Nashville’s most revered voice teachers. Her students included both amateurs and professionals and she treated each of them with equal respect. Each student was the most important client she had while they were in her studio and she approached every lesson with boundless enthusiasm. Even with all the accolades Phoebe and her students received, the most exciting event was when she was the “real Phoebe Binkley” on the nationally syndicated TV show, “To Tell The Truth”.
Phoebe has always been surrounded by an intimate circle of friends – from West High School and Vanderbilt University to Brantley’s Hair Salon and Stein Mart. She would send Thanksgiving dinner plates to her friends at Target who had to work through the holiday. Phoebe’s values and ethics were impeccable. Her faith was unshakeable. Her love was unconditional.
Phoebe’s family wishes to express their gratitude to Dr. H. Douglas “Doc” Holliday and his wife, Deb for taking their phone calls, even from the middle of the lake and to her nurse, Jan Nichols, and her occupational therapist, Robin Meadows. Phoebe loved her caregivers Dorothy Dunn, Pat Ridley, Sheena Dunn and long-time family friend, Rose Bishop.
Phoebe’s extraordinary life will be celebrated at a memorial service at Vine Street Christian Church on Friday, June 3rd at 8:00 PM. Everyone is invited to sing in the choir and if you’re interested, please go to www.voicebybinkley.com for further information. Following the memorial service, a gala reception will be held at the church. Please come to the service dressed as Phoebe would have you, in a way that makes you feel best about yourself.
Phoebe asks that you consider post-polio survivors with great compassion and education. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Phoebe’s name to BrightStone (www.brightstone.org), P.O. Box 682966, Franklin, TN 37068 or W.O. Smith Music School (www.wosmith.org), PO Box 121348, Nashville, TN 37212.
NASVILLE FUNERAL AND CREMATION, 615-256-1605