Hays and Jeannine Coleman housed Uncle Printous’ piano for 25 years.

Printous Smith descendants donate remarkable piano -

Patrons socializing in the foyer prior to performances at The Charles Bender Performing Arts Center near Historic Downtown Humble now can enjoy the soothing sounds of a very special piano thanks to the generous donation of one of Humble’s historic families.

“The piano belonged to my uncle, J. Printous Smith II, Humble’s former postmaster,” says Jones. “My mother, his sister, inherited it from him in 1980 and my mother and father, Hays and Jeannine Coleman, housed it until they passed away in 2015.”

Since then, the intricately carved Baldwin piano casing with the fitted piano mechanisms has continued to be housed at the Coleman home until Jones finally found the Smith-Coleman piano its forever home at The Bender.

J. Printous Smith II who not only was postmaster but also a well-know and renowned Humble pianist.

In addition to being Humble’s postmaster. Smith was a talented pianist and organist. As a teen, even if he wasn’t invited to a party, Haysal says he’d show up anyway, offering to play the piano.

“He enjoyed putting on a show,” she says.

Her uncle was well-known throughout Lake Houston, performing dinner music at the old Blue Marlin Inn and Atascocita County Club, playing for weddings, funerals and voice recitals, and teaching Humble residents to play.

Smith also was a world traveler. That’s how he found the piano that graces The Bender foyer.

“According to family history,” Haysal recalls, “my uncle found the carved wood piano casing while he was overseas and had it shipped back to Humble. He fitted the piano’s innards with the actual piano mechanisms. It’s a Baldwin piano with a Paris Grand Prix 1900 stamp inside the case.”

The Smith-Coleman Piano is the kind of family heirloom that Dr. Robert Meaux looks for as he and his team of volunteers move into the newly refurbished and relocated Humble Museum he hopes will open in late summer.

The original Museum, located in Downtown Humble, closed after Hurricane Harvey irreparably damaged the building. The City offered the former Band Building next door to The Bender. Dr. Meaux and the Museum board took up the offer. Now he spends his free time unboxing the hundreds of artifacts and working with Minuteman Press of Humble to build the first display.

“We’re always looking for items like the Smith-Coleman piano,” says Dr. Meaux. “Artifacts that tell the history of Humble and Lake Houston. We know that so many of our residents have family pieces they may no longer have room for and I can promise them, we’ll give those family heirlooms the love and care that they deserve, displaying them at the Humble Museum, sharing their family history so everyone can enjoy them.”

Owning such a beautiful work of art that sounds beautiful, too, is only natural for Haysal and her family. Her own family’s musical adventure began when her grandmother, Myrt, a hairdresser on Humble’s Main Street, worked long hours to purchase a piano of her own.

Uncle Printous found this piano casing in Europe and had it brought back to Humble.

“My mother played beautifully, taught piano, played for the church, and my father accompanied her on the guitar,” Haysal recalls. “My sister and I both played. My sister majored in music, married a music major, and has a son who majored in music. My husband grew up playing in a band and our two sons were in band as well.”

Gifting the piano to the citizens of Humble through The Bender, the former Charles Bender High School, was a natural for Haysal and her family, too. Her uncle, her mom and her dad all are Bender graduates. Haysal attended Humble schools through 8th grade until her family left for a few years. She is celebrating 28 years as an Humble ISD school nurse.

“We knew we had to find a new home for the piano when my parents’ property was finally under contract to be sold,” Haysel says. “I saw The Bender ad in The Tribune, took a look at The Bender website, and came across their offer of piano rentals to performing groups.”

Would The Bender accept her piano on behalf of her family and all of Uncle Printous’ descendants, Haysel asked? Of course, they would. And now, the Smith-Coleman piano is firmly placed in its forever home, the foyer of The Bender, ready to entertain guests as they mingle prior to a performance.

“Humble Mayor Merle Aaron recalls how beautifully Uncle Printous played on many occasions,” says Jennifer Wooden, director of the Humble Civic Center and The Bender. “We are so honored that the family chose to gift this magnificent piano to The Bender. This beauty now graces the west side of The Bender lobby.”

Haysel knows her family made the right decision.

“We believe this is a perfect match. Our beloved family piano playing beautiful music at our beloved school,” Haysel says fervently

Admire the piano housed in The Bender foyer, 611 Higgins Street, near Historic Downtown Humble. Family items and heirlooms can be donated to the Humble Museum by contacting Dr. Robert Meaux, humblemuseum.com.

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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