In Memoriam

Ralph Piper Beebe, 1928–2011

 

Ralph Beebe, theatre house manager for many of the University’s prestigious performance venues from 1973 until his retirement in 1996, died at his home in Ann Arbor in November. Beebe was born December 19, 1928, along with a twin sister, Helenetia. He served in the U.S. Navy for two years, stationed in Italy, and received his undergraduate degree from Knox College in Illinois. He received his master’s from the U-M Department of Theatre & Drama in 1966. Ralph acted in a number of U-M productions throughout the years, most recently in a production of The Skin of Our Teeth in 1987, directed by Philip Kerr. Beebe began his career as theatre house manager in charge of the Power Center and the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre. When SMTD became the managers of Hill and Rackham Auditoriums, he took on those spaces, as well. He was active in the Ann Arbor Historical Foundation, Washtenaw County Historical Society, and the Downtown Ann Arbor Historical Street Exhibit Program, and he was a docent at the Michigan League. He is survived by his twin sister and several nieces and nephews. University Productions will be dedicating this February’s production of Noises Off to Beebe’s memory and a memorial was held for him at the Power Center on December 1.

 

 

Eugene Bossart, 1917–2011

Eugene Bossart

 

Eugene Bossart, the Earl V. Moore Professor Emeritus of Chamber Music, who taught at U-M from 1954 to 1984, died at Glacier Hills Senior Living Community on November 12 at the age of 94. During his tenure, Bossart served as the head of the accompaniment department, was honored with two professorships, and received the Harold Haugh Faculty Award for excellence in studio teaching, the SMTD Hall of Fame Award, and the University Distinguished Faculty Award.

 

Gene Bossart was born in Erie, PA, and was a scholarship student at the Curtis Institute of Music. During World War II, he served in the Army in the South Pacific and was awarded a Purple Heart. Prior to his appointment at U-M, Bossart toured the world for thirty-seven years as an accompanist to leading artists, including many Metropolitan Opera singers. Following his retirement, he served as artist-in-residence for over twenty years at Schoolcraft College. Throughout his career, he conducted workshops and master classes at colleges and universities and was on the faculties of the Banff Festival, the Blossom Festival, and the Chatauqua Summer Music Festival. Bossart continued to teach privately well into his retirement at Glacier Hills, where he lived for 33 years. 

 

The professor’s name lives on thanks to the Eugene Bossart Concerto Prize—an endowed scholarship established in 1991 by Dr. Clyde and Helen Wu to honor the much beloved instructor-- which is awarded to the winner of the annual Campus Orchestras Concerto competition. In addition, the professor himself created the Eugene Bossart Endowed Scholarship for a student in accompanying/chamber music or piano.

 

 

Elizabeth B. Dexter, 1919–2011

Elizabeth Dexter

 

Elizabeth B. Dexter, wife of the late Professor Benning W. Dexter, died on April 18 at the age of 91 in her home at University Commons. Benning Dexter, who was also a well-known concert pianist, joined the piano faculty at the U-M School of Music in 1949 and was chair of piano from 1961–73. Elizabeth Dexter moved to Ann Arbor in 1930 when her stepfather, pianist Joseph Brinkman, joined the School of Music faculty. She attended the university and received her BA in 1940 from LSA and her MSW in 1954. She was employed as a clinical social worker at the U-M Mental Health Clinic, Children's Psychiatric Hospital, and Turner Geriatric Clinic, and actively volunteered at Planned Parenthood, the University Commons Condominium Association, Learning in Retirement, and the Turner Senior Resource Center. Dexter was a long-time supporter of and participant in the performing arts, and a generous benefactor to SMTD. Following her husband’s death in 1996, she established the Benning Dexter Scholarship Fund for piano majors. She was also an important donor to the Walgreen Drama Center and donated a Steinway piano to the school. Dexter is survived by her stepdaughter, Drucilla Marseilles and her husband William, along with their children and grandchildren

 

 

Lillian Guimond Drury, 1922–2011

Lillian Guimond Drury

 

 

Lillian Drury, who managed the League Ticket Office from 1962 until 1991, died on November 4, shortly after her eighty-ninth birthday, following a short illness. A U-M graduate who received her BA in theatre in 1963, Drury remained an avid theatergoer until the very end, and had especially been looking forward to seeing one of her favorite former students, Priscilla Lindsay, direct a production in the Power Center. The theater was not just a job for Drury, but a calling. She was devoted to providing the best service to “her” subscribers. She cared passionately about each ticket buyer’s needs and experience. Working in the age before computerized ticketing systems, she had an extraordinary memory for detail. She would stand at the rear of the Power Center during performances surveying the audience and with the seating charts memorized, she could name any subscribers who were absent. Drury was preceded in death by her beloved husband, W. Edward Drury in 1991.She is survived by her brother, George Raymond Guimond, and several nieces and nephews.

 

 

 

John A. Flower, 1921–2011

 

John A. Flower, a former U-M School of Music associate dean who went on to become president of Cleveland State University (CSU), died at home in Shaker Heights, OH, on May 12 at age 90. Born in Aberdeen, WA, Flower studied at the University of Washington and piloted bomber planes in the South Pacific during World War II before earning master of music degrees from U-M in piano and music theory. He began teaching at U-M in 1951 and earned his Ph.D. in musicology in 1956. He rose from instructor of music to associate dean and received a Rackham Faculty Research Award and a Distinguished Teaching Award. Flower then served for seven years at Kent State University as dean of the College of Fine and Professional Arts and associate provost, and was the founding dean of the Blossom Festival School, a joint program of Kent and the Cleveland Orchestra. He joined CSU in 1973 as vice president for academic affairs and became provost in 1979. He was named president in 1988, during which time he oversaw the rise of the Convocation Center and the Music and Communication Building. He retired from CSU in 1992 and became founding chair of the Ohio Aerospace Institute and spent nine years as executive director of the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education. Flower, who was also an accomplished concert pianist, is survived by his daughter Jill, of Shoreview, MN, and his son John Jr., of Frankfurt, Germany.

 

 

 

Marian Mercer, 1935–2011

Marian Mercer

 

Tony Award-winning actress and U-M music alumna Marian Mercer, 75, died on April 27 in Newbury Park, CA, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. Born in Akron, OH, Mercer graduated from U-M with a degree in voice, but became famous as a brilliant and beautiful comedic actress. Upon graduating in 1957, she moved to New York and had her big break in 1961 playing the title role in the Off Broadway hit Little Mary Sunshine. In 1969 she received a Tony as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her role in Neil Simon’s Promises, Promises. She again drew great critical acclaim in the revival of Stop the World—I Want to Get Off, in 1978, portraying four different women opposite Sammy Davis, Jr. Although known for comedy, Mercer also drew excellent reviews for dramatic leads in repertory theater. From the 1960s through the 1980s, she was a regular presence on television, appearing as a guest star on variety shows, talk shows, and sitcoms. From 1980 to 1982, she was a cast member of ABC’s It’s a Living, a popular sitcom about waitresses in an upscale restaurant in which she played the humorless hostess. Mercer is survived by her husband, Patrick Hogan, and her daughter, Deirdre Whitaker. There is a musical theatre scholarship in Mercer’s name that was established by Svea and Whit Gray.

 

 

Charles A. Reynolds, 1962–2011

Charles A. Reynolds, SMTD’s highly esteemed senior associate librarian and a member of the musicology department, died at his home in Ann Arbor on October 2 from a brain tumor. He was 49. Born in San Francisco in 1962, Reynolds earned his BM in organ performance at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music in 1984 and continued his studies at the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University, from which he obtained a master's in music in 1987. He earned his master's in library science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1991. Reynolds joined SMTD’s music library in 1993 and became head librarian in 2002. As an adjunct lecturer, he taught a bibliography of music course to graduate students in performance, composition, and music theory. An accomplished musician who served the community as an organist, choir director, and jazz musician, Reynolds performed regularly at a number of churches in the Ann Arbor area. His repertoire was vast and included everything from Bach preludes, fugues, and toccatas to spirituals and contemporary song. Reynolds was a devoted father, with Anita Sherman Moran, to Alexander, Brenna, Jacob, and Liam (who preceded his father in death). He is survived by his wife, Rebecca Price, a librarian in the University library, as well as his father, Lloyd, his brother, Jonathan, and his sister, Katherine.

 

 

1930s

Elizabeth V. Mann, MM ’36 in cello, died April 13, 2011

 

 

1940s

Professor Dean C. Howard, MM’42 in composition, died August 1, 2011

Irene B. Huggins, BM ’43 in piano, died July 7, 2011

Marie H. Jensen, MM ’49 in piano, died October 17, 2011

Donald L. Marrs, BM ’41 in music education, died May 24, 2011

Col. A.T.B. Rutherdale, MM ’44 in music education, died April 16, 2011

Margery R. Schmitz, BM ’43 in music education, died April 19, 2011

Pearl F. Seymour, BM ’49 in organ, died October 28, 2011

Mary J. Stephans Jacobi, BM ’49 in music education, died June 23, 2011

Marcia Netting Thompson, BM ’45 in music theory, died October 1, 2011

 

 

1950s

Waldie A. Anderson, MM ’54 in music education and voice, died May 22, 2011

Alvah Bruce Arney, BM ’55 in music education, died May 20, 2011

Renah Bardenstein, ‘BM 51 in piano, died September 16, 2011

Jeanne L. Bond, BM ’53 and MM ’59 in music education and piano, died April 26, 2011

John McChord Christie, BM ’58 and MM ’59 in music education, died August 30, 2011

C. Duane Corbett, MM ’51 in music education, died October 31, 2011

Fred P. Coulter , BM ’56 and MM ’58 in piano, died October 19, 2011

Donald R. Haas, BM ’53 in wind instruments, died August 2, 2011

John Leon Iltis, MM ’50 in music education, died April 17, 2011

Dr. Jennie Bell Killilea, MA ’53 in theatre, died May 22, 2011

Eunice L. Loeweke, BM ’57, MA ’58 in music literature, died April 18, 2011

Donald E. McComas, BM ’55 in trumpet and music education, died March 28, 2011

Paul J. Wallace, BM ’50 and MM ’54 in music education, died October 27, 2011

 

 

1960s

Dr. Edward J. Drew, MM ’62 in music education, died October 26, 2011

William A. Hazzard, MM ’68 in music education, died August 5, 2011

Julia Carolyn Kurtyka, BM ’65 and MM ’67 in string instruments and education, died June 2, 2011

Donald M. Parrish, BM ’60 and MM ’69 in music education and literature, died July 12, 2011

David K. Rick, MM ’67 in composition, died June 3, 2011

Melvin D. Soyars, MM ’64 in wind instruments, died April 3, 2011

Dr. Elizabeth C. Thomas, MM ’49 and '52 in organ and music literature, MA ’60 in education, died April 3, 2011

 

 

1970s

Allen F Kindt, DMA ’70 in piano, died July 18, 2011

Carolyn Lipp, MM ’78 and DMA ’01 in harpsichord, died September 15, 2011

Dr. Joan Luce, PhD ’75 in musicology, died April 27, 2011

Leo M. Najar, BM ’76 and MM ’77 in viola and violin, died May 17, 2011

Charles John Reineck, BM ’72 and MM ’74 in organ, died May 30, 2011

Kenneth L. Scheffel, DMA ’70 in violin, died April 5, 2011

 

 

1980s

Linda H. Cressman, MM ’82 in voice, died May 27, 2011

Dr. Steven L. Larson, PhD ’87 in music theory, died June 7, 2011

Richard John Shillea, BM ’80 and MM ’84 in clarinet, died September 29, 2011

 

1990s

Bruce Patterson, MM ’91 in piano accompaniment and chamber music, died April 28, 2009