News From Terre Haute, Indiana


April 29, 2014

Steven K. Humphrey

TERRE HAUTE — Steven K. Humphrey, a long time band instructor and mentor within the Vigo County School Corporation, died Sunday afternoon, April 27, 2014, after a battle with cancer, just two days shy of his 62nd birthday. He was born in Sterling, Ill., on April 29, 1952. He was preceded in death by his son, Patrick D. Humphrey.

He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Deborah; his son, Eric Humphrey and wife Deirdre of Chicago; his parents, Dale and Carol Humphrey of Rock Falls, Ill.; brother, Scott and wife Sandy Humphrey of Pittsburgh; and sister, Jill Ely of Terre Haute. He had one special great-niece, Brittany Ely, whom he lovingly called “De-Niece”.  His two Jack Russell Terriers, Barley and Lizzy.  

As a lover of band music and music in general, Steve earned a B.M.Ed. degree from Southern Illinois University in 1974, going on to receive his M.M.Ed. from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago in 1982.

He began his teaching career in Forrest, Ill., in 1974.  After five years of developing his teaching style and giving the students an unforgettable music experience, he traveled down the state to Lawrenceville, Ill. During that time, he was very successful with his concert, marching and pep bands. In 1982, he moved his family to Terre Haute, where he was director of bands at South Vigo High School until 2000. Because of his love of marching band, Steve returned to serve as the assistant marching band director, working with Tim Murphy at South Vigo High School.

In 2000, Steve decided he wanted to share his passion with beginning band students at the middle school level, when he became director of bands at Honey Creek Middle School, his current position. His bands have always received many honors and awards at contests and festivals.  

Not content with just being a teacher, Steve involved himself within the school, serving as the Music Department chair. He was a member of the VCTA committee and enjoyed spending time with fellow teachers, especially his “lunch bunch.”

In addition to his teaching duties, he is also a member of the Indiana Bandmaster Association. He has been a guest conductor of the Indiana Honor Band and he has been very active in adjudicating and presenting clinics throughout the Midwest.  

Steve has been a tireless supporter of VanderCook College throughout Indiana. He has been a member of the VanderCook College Alumni Board of Directors several times since the 1980s. His most recent term on the board ended in December of 2006. In 2008, Steve was awarded the VanderCook Distinguished Alumni Award.  

One of Steve’s passions was his involvement with the Terre Haute Community Band. He was honored to serve on its board, assist in choosing music for the band, leading the percussion section and often times serving as guest conductor. Along with these duties, he was honored to serve as vice president for the Terre Haute Children’s Choir.

Steve enjoyed every minute of what spare time he had. You could often find him enjoying his backyard pool with Debbie, traveling to Chicago to visit Eric and Deirdre and taking mini vacations to favorite destinations. One of his best known past times was learning to brew his own beer with the Wabash Valley Fermentation and Ale Association.  

As much as Steve enjoyed his students, his students enjoyed his style of teaching and respected him. They would seek him out for advice, not just musical advice, but advice for life in general. Countless students have considered him their mentor and he was honored to be there for them. His teaching day did not end when the bell rang or after graduation. He remembered each name as if he saw them just the day before. It always pleased him when a former student, now a parent, brought their son or daughter in to sign up for band class. Nothing made him prouder. Over his 40-year teaching career, Steve has touched many lives.

A celebration of the life of Steve Humphrey will be held at Honey Creek Middle School, 6601 S. Carlisle St., Terre Haute, on Friday, May 2, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. Visitation will be at the school from 4:30 p.m. until the service. For all that are available, we will be meeting at Sonka’s, 1366 Wabash Ave, Terre Haute, on Saturday, May 3 from 3 to 6 p.m. to share a toast to Steve’s life. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Terre Haute Community Band, P.O. Box 3555, Terre Haute, IN, or your favorite charity. The family has entrusted DeBaun Funeral Homes Springhill Chapel, 85 E. Springhill Drive, with making arrangements. Online condolences can be made at:


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