Elvira (MacGregor) Titmus September 07, 1890 - March 03, 1979
Moriches Bay Tide article dated January 29, 1970
Mrs. Titmus Observes 50th year at Keyboard
Gertrude Titmus isn't sure, she hasn't counted. But it looks like she has been organist at the Presbyterian Church of the Moriches for something like 2,600 Sundays. That's about fifty years give or take a few. Mrs Titmus who was born in the house across the street from her present Main Street home in Center Moriches learned to play the organ sometime around the time she was married to Joseph Allen Titmus on December 10, 1919. Her parents were Benjamin (Frank) Franklin MacGregor and Catherine Elizabeth Reardon, daughter of Jane Smith of the "Rock" Smith Family. She's missed only a few sundays because of illness, and has played for countless funeral and weddings as well. She's even played the Wedding March for children of parents whose nuptials she here-comes-the-brided years before. The widow of Joseph Titmus, Gertrude Mac Gregor did not come from a particularly musical family, although she says, with a note of pride in her voice, that she has a talented son and grandson. She has no favorite hymns, she says, ("I like them all") but her favorite anthem is "Oh, Rest in the Lord."
Mrs. Titmus has no idea how many ministers have come and gone at the church since she's been at the keyboard, but that has doubtless been a high number, too. Old timers will recall that she played silent movie piano in the old Center Moriches theater which was located on Railroad Avenue in a building which has since become a dry cleaning establishment. Her selections set the mood for the villains and heroes who traversed the silver screen. In these days of mobility, rootlessness, and fast-paced dashes into oblivion by most of the population, isn't it refreshing to think of organ strains emanating from a little old church in Center Moriches, played by the same gracious lady who has been originating them for fifty years?
Note: Gertrude continued to play the organ at the Presbyterian Church of the Moriches for twenty-five more years, retiring after a full seventy-five years of service.