SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Back in May, OzarksFirst brought you the story behind 1600 E. Catalpa St., a four-story English Tudor-style home in the Delaware area of Springfield.
The property was home to Dr. Charles E. Lockhart, his wife Patricia and their four children. The family’s collective musical endeavors carved out a place in their community.
For the next 60 years, the home would be the backdrop for everything from parties and receptions to tragic loss. For one of the Lockhart children, it was once a place she felt she had to get away from, but later became a place where she could heal.
The early years
Originally from Decatur, Illinois, Charles Lockhart was 30 years old when he first met his wife, Patricia (who was 18 at the time). He had finished his military service, where he’d served as a medic.
Patricia had one year of college left when she met her future husband, who encouraged her to finish her education. She got her degree – and got married the next day.
“And they just headed out, you know, to Springfield, Missouri, where it’s kind of brand-new territory,” said Patrice Lockhart. “But they saw so much in the community that they could fit into.”
Charles and Patricia Lockhart bought 1600 E. Catalpa in 1950, shortly after their wedding and would make their home there, raising their children, teaching and performing in church and beyond.
The youngest of the Lockhart children, Patrice, fondly recalls the house and her family, including the early days of her parents’ life in Springfield.
“My dad was a general surgeon from Illinois and had finished residency, and he’d done his war service as a medic, and was ready to start… their little piece of heaven,” Patrice said. “And they started it with a dog, and they had dachshunds their whole life, their lives, so their dachshund Pretzel was the first addition to the clan.”
The Lockhart family started expanding, and added Greg, Dan and Curtis between 1951 and 1955. Patrice would come later, in 1960.
“And I was a little bonus,” Patrice said. “And the only girl.”
When asked what life was like as the youngest of four and having brothers much older, Patrice described it as “a privileged position,” and one where she was lucky to have kind and protective brothers.
“My mom loved all that little girl stuff and I would rather be out digging with sticks and my brothers,” Patrice said. “They kind of shielded me from, from being too girly, so I got to be a bit of a tomboy with them and they were also protectors.”
“When I started playing with the Youth Symphony when I was eight, and my mom didn’t want me to wear the regular uniform, she wanted me to wear ankle socks and black patent leather shoes, or whatever. And Dan was like, ‘Mom, if she’s gonna, if she’s old enough to play, she needs to be able to wear what everybody else wears.’ And so I always felt like he let be grow up a little bit quicker than my mom would have wanted me to do and I was always grateful for that,” said Patrice.
Over the years, the Lockhart home would be the centerpiece for many memories for Patrice, including an annual Easter egg hunt that rotated from house to house in the neighborhood, with older kids (including her brothers) hiding eggs for her and her friends.
“It just was a great home base,” said Patrice.
While their home wasn’t a free-for-all, Patrice said it was a place where others were welcome and a place where others wanted to be.
The musical Lockharts
The garage was made into a music studio when Patrice was five. It became the backdrop for the family’s musical talents and the violin lessons Patricia taught for years.
But Charles was musically talented, too, and sang tenor at First and Calvary Presbyterian Church. Patrice said her father’s training started with his own mother, who taught piano, but his gifting was as a vocalist. Tony Bennett, Andy Williams and Plácido Domingo topped the list of Charles’ inspirations.
In the 1960s, Charles was one of the original Singing Doctors of Springfield. According to Patrice, the group’s schtick was changing the lyrics of popular songs to medical jargon for the sake of comedy, but she respected that they did it for a cause. The group regularly raised money to fund scholarships for medical students.
“I just admired that a lot,” Patrice said. “That, that they did these things that they loved, but they also had a purpose.”
All of the Lockhart children learned an instrument, and as Patrice’s own career as a musician grew, she remembers her father getting to sing for some of those idols.
“Many, many times my dad would travel to wherever I was playing, just to meet Tony Bennett, or, gosh, sing a couple bars for Placido Domingo,” Patrice said. “It was just a treat for him to continue his musical love because he was a fearless musician. He didn’t have anything to lose. My mom, on the other hand, worked very hard to being her best.”
Born during the Great Depression, Patricia Lockhart grew up an only child. Her parents were both teachers, and her father often turned to Patricia to play all sorts of instruments if he needed.
It was Patricia’s father who encouraged her to start the Lockhart kids on unusual instruments, so they would have more opportunities to play than the students who chose more common instruments.
So, Greg played bassoon, Dan played French horn and Curtis was a percussionist. Patrice’s unusual instrument was the harp.
“There were no harpists that really liked to play when I was little, so I got to play opera at Southwest Missouri State when I was eight. I didn’t know it was hard,” Patrice said, adding that she got the best of both worlds – her mother’s strength for technique and discipline and her father’s “nothing to lose” attitude.
Charles would later serve on the board of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, where Patricia also played violin. She became the orchestra’s assistant concertmaster and served in the role for 61 years, a feat for someone to continue playing their instrument so well for so long.
Patrice also remembered helping her mother in the kitchen late at night, preparing to host receptions for visiting musicians who played concerts in the Queen City, including pianist Van Cliburn (who sat next to Patrice and played the Lockharts’ piano) and violinist Isaac Stern.
With deep roots in music, Patrice continued her career as a harpist well into her 20s, partially fueled by the loss that shook the Lockhart family in the 1970s.
Season of sorrow
The time before the loss of Dan Lockhart was what Patrice described as “idyllic,” but she remembers when her family and their home changed forever.
“Life went on, but it wasn’t the same,” Patrice said. “I think the house was very much a comfort to my mom, and to me, it’s like there was no air left in it.”
Dan graduated from the College of Wooster in 1974 and was preparing to attend Tulane Medical School in Louisiana.
Patrice remembers the Triumph sports car Dan had bought himself and was so proud of, the one he was driving on his way back to Springfield from visiting older brother Greg in Columbia, Missouri.
Dan wasn’t speeding or driving drunk, but he swerved to avoid a dog in the road, flipping his car. The crash killed him instantly.
“After Dan died, the gates were never open,” Patrice recalls. “People didn’t come by. Or, or tap on the back porch, or any, any of those things that had been so important.”
When the accident happened, Patrice was 14. She felt as though she had to be out of the house, a place that seemed to be suffocating her with Dan’s absence. She spent every summer after the crash away from home.
Each member of the Lockhart family handled Dan’s loss differently. While Patrice kept herself occupied with school, music and various camps during the summer, she said the house itself and other hobbies comforted her mother, while her father didn’t seem to be the same man he once was.
“My dad had a very hard time being around anybody that was having a good time after Dan died, which, you know, for such a gregarious man, that loss just took all the fun out of him for two decades,” Patrice said.
“My mom turned to her needlework and her violin playing. She did a seven-by-nine-foot needlepoint tapestry for First and Calvary Presbyterian Church. It’s there now, and it’s a tour de force. It really is exceptional and I think she just healed in every stitch she put into that thing,” said Patrice.
Dan’s absence also fueled Patrice’s pursuit of music, pushing her career as a harpist into her college years and beyond. And while her brothers had pursued careers in medicine, it was the last place she wanted to be.
“I just needed the space, and medical school did not look like there was space for me being a musician and an artist,” Patrice said. “Traveling the world, that was what I needed at that time and so I gave it a really good run.”
By the time she was around 27 years old, Patrice had been playing harp professionally for a few years, but wanted something different. She received CPR and EMT training, and at one time taught with the American Red Cross. She eventually became a psychiatrist and continued playing the harp with orchestras in Nebraska and now the World Doctor’s Orchestra.
A dramatic return
The decades spent away from home following Dan’s death made her return to 1600 E. Catalpa St. nostalgic and even healing for Patrice.
“I don’t know that I spent another summer in Springfield after 1974,” Patrice recalls. “It wasn’t really until my mom turned 80… that I started coming home again very regularly for her last decade of life and felt like I got to have the spirit, gosh that chokes me up, the spirit of the house. It came alive again.”
By 2017, Patricia was no longer able to live in the family home, so Patrice and her brothers sold the house to Mark Chambers and Rick Albaugh, who had come recommended to the Lockharts by friends and neighbors.
“We got to know them, and it really developed into such a good relationship that I felt like I gained more family, rather than losing the house,” Patrice said.
At the time, Patrice had adjusted her work schedule so she could spend a full week each month with her mother.
“I would stay with [Chambers and Albaugh] in my old room when I visit my mom in the nursing home, so it’s really been a lifelong relationship for me,” said Patrice.
Those last 10 years of her mother’s life were a time when Patrice said she realized just how fortunate she was to have the home on Catalpa as a child and then again when she was older.
“I did have a place, I had a lot of people watching out for me that I didn’t even realize, and that included friends, teachers, musical colleagues,” Patrice said. “It gets more and more clear how, how fortunate we were.”