Index of Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches

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Janet McLoud McGaughey, professor emeritus of music theory and a much-beloved Austin musician, died of lymphoma on December 8, 1999, at the age of eighty-five. Her career at The University of Texas at Austin started with the very beginnings of the College of Fine Arts and the Department of Music, for she was one of the first faculty members hired to teach in the fall of 1939 by the founding dean of the college and professor of music, E. William Doty.

Janet was born in Springfield, Illinois, on November 17, 1914, to Anna Klotz and Hal Carter McLoud. She attended local public schools and Springfield Junior College, where she received an associate of arts degree in 1935. That year she enrolled in the music school of the University of Michigan, then, as now, one of the most highly-regarded music schools in the country. She earned a bachelor of music degree along with the Albert A. Stanley Medal for distinguished work in music in 1938, and then proceeded into the master's program in piano performance, receiving an MM in 1941. It was at Michigan that she met Bill Doty, who recruited her to teach at UT Austin even before she finished her MM degree.

As an instructor of music, Janet taught piano, musicianship, harmony, dictation, and sight-singing at the University from 1939 to 1943. Her starting salary in 1939 was $1800 per year. She witnessed the completion of the new music building (now Rainey Hall) in 1942. It was the first air-conditioned building on campus and drew many non-music students into its cool halls; Janet recalled that her glasses would fog up from the change in temperature when she entered the building on hot days. In 1940 she married John McGaughey, who was soon called to serve in the Navy in World War II. He was posted to San Diego and then overseas. Janet followed him to California in 1943, resigning her position at UT. After the birth of her daughter Tina, Janet became an assistant professor at San Diego State College, where she taught until 1950. In the spring of that year, Bill Doty, upon learning that she was divorced, sent her the following telegram:

Have no one to teach freshman and sophomore theory in September. Will you come and reorganize us again? Please wire collect including rank and salary for which you would come, if it is possible.

Best regards from us all, E. W. Doty

In response, Janet returned to UT as an associate professor in 1950 and resumed her role as head of the music theory program in the Department of Music. She chose to concentrate her teaching on undergraduate music students and became renowned as a teacher of ear-training and sight-singing. She practiced what she preached. As a musician with perfect pitch, she was legendary for her ability to write down complex music based on hearing alone rather than a written score. Many friends tell stories of seeking her help in finding the music of some melody or piece and then receiving a hand-written copy which Janet had taken down by ear. In 1961 she published a text and workbook, Practical Ear Training (Boston: Allyn and Bacon), which became widely used in undergraduate theory courses. She received awards for teaching excellence in 1959 and 1965, and she continued to perform with colleagues as a pianist in chamber ensembles. In 1959 she became one of the first women full professors on campus, and in 1965 she was named coordinator of the theory-composition program. Under Robert Bays, the Department of Music chairman, Janet served as associate chair, and in the late 1970s she was graduate studies chair and graduate adviser for a short time. She hosted a radio program, "University of Texas Music and Musicians," for KUT-FM. She taught on extended service from fall 1978 through spring 1984, when she retired from teaching completely. She was named professor emeritus in 1984 in recognition of her long and distinguished service to the University.

It was then that Janet took on a more active career as a performing musician. In response to an invitation from flute and recorder player Dell Hollingsworth, she became the harpsichordist and continuo player with Austin's La Follia Baroque ensemble. Playing baroque music was a new and wonderful pursuit which she embraced with characteristic enthusiasm. For more than a decade she delighted in performing as a member of La Follia. Janet laughed about, but welcomed, receiving pointers on her harpsichord technique from her son-in-law Arthur, a professional harpsichordist married to her daughter Martha, a professional performer on string instruments.

Her professional and honor society memberships included the Music Educators National Conference, the Music Teachers National Association, Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Kappa Lambda (national music honorary), and Sigma Alpha Iota (women's music fraternity). Listed in the Directory of American Scholars and Who's Who of American Women, Janet was the president of the Texas Music Teachers Association (1978-80), and she was honored as their "Teacher of the Year" in 1980. She also served as secretary of the South Central Division of the Music Teachers National Association. During her career she gave many workshop presentations on comprehensive musicianship and the linking of music theory and performance teaching.

From the 1950s until her death, Janet was an active member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, a congregation which she helped to found. She was in charge of the church's music for more than four decades and was most proud of having composed a hymn included in the Unitarian Universalist hymnal (No. 117, "O Light of Life"). She also wrote anthems for church performance. By her last years, Janet had in effect become the Mother Superior of the Austin Unitarian congregation, beloved and known by all. It was widely noted that even in the final weeks of her life she continued her longtime habit of proofreading the church bulletin every Thursday to prevent any errors from creeping in.

Her memorial service, held at the Unitarian Church on December 19, 1999, was characteristic. Messages of tribute were sent from all over the country by every previous minister of the Austin congregation since 1958. Half a dozen local friends also paid tribute with their favorite "Janet" stories. And there were musical tributes of every sort performances of her own compositions by members of the choir, of classical music by solo and chamber-musician friends and colleagues, of her favorite pop song ("Where or When" by Rodgers and Hart), and of a completely improvised piano work by an Austin rock musician and former student of Janet's. Janet herself had helped to make the Unitarian Church an important venue for musical events in Austin, and on that day the church was packed with a standing-room-only crowd of loved ones, friends, and admirers whose lives Janet had touched in multiple ways. Her musical legacy continues not only in the halls of The University of Texas and the Austin music scene, but also in her many former students scattered throughout the United States.


Larry R. Faulkner, President
The University of Texas at Austin


John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty

This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors Rebecca A. Baltzer (chair), Lita Guerra, and Phyllis Young.