Alice South Hume, fifth generation of an early pioneer family, passed away Friday October 25, at Excelsior Farm, her ancestral home. Surrounded by her immediate family, Alice passed away in her sleep after several weeks of failing health. She enjoyed 89 years of an abundant, eventful life filled with many interests, a spirit of independence and pride in self reliance.
She was born at her parents’ home near Jett, Kentucky, March 27, 1924. Her father was Frankfort attorney, J.K. Polk South, Jr. and her mother, Alice Seeley Alexander of Woodford County.
Alice received her early education at the old Murray Street Grammar School, Frankfort, followed by four years at Frankfort High School, where she excelled in academics and debate, winning the state debate championship her senior year. She attended Sophie Newcomb College (now Tulane University) as an art major in sculpture. After two years at Newcomb, she transferred to Pratt Institute of Art in New York City where she planned to pursue a career in applied arts. However, the uncertain times of World War II interrupted her college years. In 1944 she married Edgar E. Hume Jr. whose tour of duty led to two years in the army of occupation in Italy and Austria.
Alice was part of the first wave of American military families to join their loved ones serving in Europe. After the war Alice and Edgar settled in Frankfort.
She continued her art studies at the University of Kentucky as a student of the distinguished artist and teacher, Ray Barnhardt.
In 1955 she and husband Edgar, founded Capital Day School where Alice taught art and puppetry and where their four children were educated.
She was deeply rooted to her community, serving in many capacities including the Mayor’s and Citizen’s Advisory Committees from 1963 to 1974. Alice was an active member of the D.A.R. Susannah Hart Shelby chapter and Colonial Dames.
In 1968, Alice returned to her love of puppetry and with her daughter, Mary Alexander, formed Le Petite Guignol, a hand, rod and shadow puppet theater which was later renamed The Puppet House Players. The company toured throughout Kentucky, the southern and eastern US under the auspices of the Kentucky Arts Council, the Southern Arts Federation and the National Endowment for the Arts. They performed at major national and international puppetry festivals traveling to many parts of the US, Canada, Japan and Indonesia.
In 1971 Alice developed an educational program to introduce American audiences to the ancient art of Javanese shadow theater which they presented at museums, libraries and universities.
They performed their signature production, “The Elves and the Shoemaker” for six weeks at the Smithsonian’s Discovery Theater Christmas season 1981-82.
Alice loved central Kentucky and its pastoral traditions. In later years she participated in and led environmental causes to preserve the landscape she held so dear.
She is survived by her four children, Edgar E. Hume III, Lexington; Alice Hume Tillett, Navasha, Kenya, Mary Alexander Hume, Lexington, and David C. Hume, Midway; by her brother, Jerry G. South, Mill Valley, California, by three grandsons, six great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
A graveside service will be held Friday, November 1 at 3:30 pm at the Frankfort Cemetery followed by a reception at the Frankfort Woman’s Club, 200 Washington Street, Frankfort.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to some of Alice’s favorite charitable organizations: Hospice of the Bluegrass, Franklin and Woodford Humane Societies, University of Kentucky Opera, Bluegrass Conservancy and American Farmland Trust.
Arrangements are under the direction of Rogers Funeral Home. Online condolences can be made at www.RogersFrankfort.com.