Lillian C. Embick of Fort Wayne, who formed Audiences Unlimited so nursing home residents could enjoy music, dance and other performances, died March 20 at age 97.
“She loved serving others all her life,” according to her obituary.
She learned to play piano as a child.
“My mother took me to every free concert that they could find in Fort Wayne,” she said in a documentary posted by the Fort Wayne Philharmonic on its Facebook page.
She served as a Red Cross volunteer for 10 years and when it looked for volunteers to visit nursing homes, she went to perform sing-a-longs. She saw a great need for programs.
In 1972, Embick started the nonprofit organization Audiences Unlimited, Inc., where she served as its volunteer executive director. She planned programs and community outings for 35 nursing homes.
It is estimated that she worked over 90,000 volunteer hours in her 42 years as CEO,” according to her obituary.
It was because of this volunteerism that she received over 30 state, local and national awards. Among them was Aging & In-Home Services of Northeast Indiana Inc.’s Communities for a Lifetime – Awards of Excellence, given to those who have contributed to building a livable community for older adults, and all ages; and the Sagamore of the Wabash, which is the highest state award given by the governor for outstanding volunteer work.
“She attended Philharmonic concerts, ballet, plays and other community events where she got to see the residents enjoy the events,” according to the obituary.
Widowed after the death of her husband, Byron Embick, a choir director with whom she sang duets at events, churches and nursing homes, she is survived by a daughter, three granddaughters, four great-granddaughters, and two great-great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death also by a son.
Audiences Unlimited is located at 1005 E. Rudisill Blvd., Suite 304, Fort Wayne. According to Audiences Unlimited’s website, https://audiencesunlimited.org, the group has affected 2.8 million audience members and serves Allen, DeKalb, Noble, LaGrange and Steuben counties. According to Embick in the Philharmonic documentary, that number was above 3.6 million.
Between July 2019 and the March 2020 shutdowns caused by COVID-19, Audiences Unlimited helped 65,760 audience members at 47 long-term health care facilities enjoy 2,123 performances and arts experiences, according to the group’s annual report.