A WELL-loved and respected Oxfordshire music teacher, whose career spanned almost 60 years, has died.

Mary Howell-Pryce taught the piano and directed music.

Born in Kerry, Newtown, Montgomeryshire, in May 1929, she attended Newtown Grammar School for Girls.

From a young age her musical talents were evident and, aged 16, she was awarded a place at the Royal Academy of Music, studying piano and viola.

Her contemporaries included composer John Joubert, the virtuoso pianist Ronald Smith and the harpist Osian Ellis.

In 1951, she married Glyn Pryce and they moved to Cumnor where they raised their three children, Bryn, Sian and Rhodri.

Among other posts, she was director of music at St Edmund Campion School, Iffley Turn, from 1967 to 1987 where her openness to all types of music was appreciated by many pupils.

In later life, she studied the harpsichord with Richard Leigh Harris, who became her partner, and she went on to gain a Master's degree from Reading University in Harpsichord Performance in 1988.

In her active retirement, she studied Latin, Egyptian dance and Welsh, her native tongue, the latter to the extent of twice being made a Bard by the Gorsedd of the Eisteddford.

Leigh Harris said: "While not militant, she was intensely proud of her Welsh cultural heritage and was an ardent supporter of the Welsh language, both spoken and written."

He said she was also a meticulous gardener, taking delight in her small but exotically-packed garden in Marston.

He added: "Always kind, understanding yet understated in her manner, Mary bore her final illness with a typical stoicism, inner calm and faith that was wholly typical of this most serene of women.

"Her funeral at All Saints Church, Lime Walk, Headington, where she had been director of music for 15 years, was ample testimony to the esteem and affection in which she was held."

She leaves three children, five grandchildren and her partner.