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April 27, 2014

George M. Graesch

TERRE HAUTE — George M. Graesch, 90, of Terre Haute died on the morning of Friday, April 25, 2014 in Union Hospital surrounded by his family and loved ones.  He was a retired Associate Professor of Music at Indiana State University and most recently was the leader of the swing band Men of Note and Claudia.  

He was born October 19, 1923 in Mt. Carmel, IL to George F. Graesch and Mabel Meyers Graesch.  He was preceded in death by his wife Lois E. Graesch and his son, David G. Graesch.  He is survived by his daughter Karen E. Lukens and her husband John of Terre Haute; a sister, Marilyn Graesch Kieffner and her husband Delbert of Winter Park, FL; grandchildren, Rachel Howard and her husband John, and Graham Lukens and his wife Janet; great grandchildren, Charlotte and Arthur Howard; and nieces, Lynn Lockhart and her husband Andrew and Kay Kimbrough and her husband Orman.

During World War II Graesch participated in the V-12 program and served in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years, including service in Guam and Iwo Jima, as an assistant band director of the Third Marine Division and as a show band director during the Iwo Jima Campaign.

Following his service he married the love of his life, Lois Slater, in 1946 and studied at Indiana State, earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education (1947 and 1948).  He did further graduate study at the University of Illinois and Indiana University.

He began his teaching career as band director of the public schools in Beloit, WI and Hartford City, IN before returning to ISU where he worked for 31 years as the Director of Bands and Coordinator of the Wind Division of Music.  He was the longest serving director of bands in ISU history and retired in 1984.

George devoted his life to teaching and creating music. In retirement, George revived and led the swing band Men of Note and Claudia, which performed dances and concerts throughout the Wabash Valley.  A consummate musician, George Graesch’s legacy will not only be the music he performed and created, but the hundreds of music educators and performers he taught and mentored.

He was a member of many organizations including: ISU Alumni Association, Indiana Bandmasters Association, College Band Directors National Association, Phi Beta Mu, Indiana Music Educators Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Indiana Retired Teachers Association, and Centenary United Methodist Church. George received the Bright Distinguished Service Medal in band and the ISU Faculty and Staff Philanthropy Award.  He was honored by the ISU Symphonic Band with a concert, “George Graesch: A Concert of Celebration”.

Funeral services will be conducted at 11:00 A.M. Friday, May 2, 2014 in Callahan & Hughes Funeral Home, 605 South 25th Street, with Reverend Jimmy Moore officiating. Cremation is scheduled. Private burial is in Highland Lawn Cemetery. Visitation is scheduled from 5:00–7:00 P.M. on Thursday, May 1, 2014. The family requests in lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the ISU Foundation for the Joseph Gremelspacher Music Education Scholarship Fund.  Funeral information may also be found at:  www.callahanandhughes.com

 

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