During that summer, Ursula visited us from Berlin for several weeks. She hardly arrived when we put a paint brush in her hand. She knew how to fall to, from way back. She apparently inherited some of Peg's dexterity (certainly not mine!) for she was extremely dextrous with her hands. This quality served her well when she decided to set up an oboe shop in Berlin. That was the result of a series of progressions from earlier in her life..

Born on November 18 of 1941, a few days before Pearl Harbor, Ursula Washburn Warren had a happy childhood which centered around the animals - especially ponies and horses - school, and her music. At an early age she decided she wanted to learn to play a violin. She got right at it, constructing a crude violin out of plywood. Hearing about this, an acquaintance who had an old, unused violin, gave it to her. She learned to play it at the same time Peg and I were learning to play cello and flute, respectively, and David was first taking up the clarinet and then the viola. She took to it readily and we all participated in playing simple quartet music. Then an oboe became available in the school band, and despite our misgivings that she was jumping around too much, she persuaded the band teacher to let her learn to play the oboe in the band. From then on, although she could always play the violin modestly well, the oboe became her instrument and vocation.

She took oboe lessons throughout her childhood and when she was ready for college she was an excellent oboist for her age. Meantime, at Westtown School, she was taking piano lessons from a good teacher. There was a scholarship at Hartt College of Music for an oboe student, and Peg and I took her to Hartford for an audition with the president of the college, Moshe Paranov. She performed on the oboe to his satisfaction. Then Peg and I held our breath when he said that whoever got the scholarship would have to be familiar with the piano and all the keys, chords and arpeggios. She sat at the piano and he said she should play the various inversions of chords in C minor, along with arpeggios on those chords. To our amazement, Ursula banged them out without hesitation. He asked for the same in about a half dozen other key signatures, and Ursula also banged them out, with similar alacrity.

Ursula got the full scholarship and as a freshman amazingly became the oboist of the college's symphony orchestra. She studied musicology and was awarded her Masters Degree at the Manhattan School of Music and was awarded a Fullbright fellowship to study with Lothar Koch, the first oboist of the Berlin Philharmonic. The fellowship was renewed a second year, and meantime she had made a niche for herself playing oboe in Berlin. She then completed course work toward a Ph.D in musicology at Brandeis University. But the pull of Berlin and the abundant opportunities for her to perform there brought her back to Berlin, where she remained the rest of her life, soon obtaining a well-paid post as oboist in the orchestra of the Theater des Westens, a world-famous musical comedy theater in Berlin.

Like her mother, Ursula set up a repair shop -- in her case for oboes and other woodwinds. She repaired and sold oboes for customers all over Western Europe, and after the wall came down in Berlin, in Eastern Europe as well. An early user of the Internet, she sold woodwind supplies and oboe reeds to customers throughout the world.

She also gave oboe lessons, and out of these came close friendships with several families. Many of her pupils won medals in the all-German youth competitions and went on to play in major orchestras throughout Europe.

Ursula bought a house in Malterhausen, a rural village some fifty miles from Berlin, and bought herself a horse and often went riding over the access roads in the large, mostly flat German fields.

On the way home after an evening performance in March of 1999, as she was driving up a rise in the road, three wild boars plunged across her path, resulting in her car overturning and serious injuries for Ursula, from which she never recovered. She passed away a year or so later -- August 31, 2002 -- our lovely Ursula.

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