Index of Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches
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RICHARD D. BLAIR
Richard Dean Blair, professor emeritus of The University of Texas at Austin, died on December 2, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Amy; daughter and son-in-law, Nissa and Aaron Shakocius; son and daughter-in-law, Brian Blair and Muriel Lynne Bartholomae; sister and brother-in-law, Lois and Ted Hitchcock; and three grandchildren, Anja, Benjamin, and Peter.
Dick’s dedicated service to the University spanned over four decades, beginning with his appointment as teaching assistant in music literature (1955-57), then as lecturer in music and assistant band director (1957-61), assistant professor of music (1963-67), associate professor of music (1967-72), professor of music (1972-95), and professor emeritus (1995-2011). He was greatly admired by his colleagues and students as a teacher who cared passionately about his students, encouraging and mentoring them in every aspect of their lives. His dedication and generosity as a teacher attracted countless students, including many non-music majors from across the University.
Dick began his music studies at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he received a diploma in 1950, and a Bachelor’s of Music in applied oboe in 1956. He studied with legendary oboists Marcel Tabuteau of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Fernand Gillet of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He performed as English hornist with the San Antonio Symphony from 1951 to 1955, as oboist with the Corpus Christi Symphony from 1955 to 1961, and as principal oboist with the Austin Symphony Orchestra from 1961 to 1979. In 1966, he received a Master’s of Music in music education from The University of Texas at Austin, where he was a member of the UT Austin woodwind quintet and the Bach Chamber Players. He was recognized as a musician who brought extraordinary dedication, emotion, and inspiration to his every performance.
During his tenure at the University of Texas at Austin, Dick served in a variety of capacities. He was assistant dean (1962-66), acting chairman (summer sessions 1962-67 and spring semesters 1968 and 1969), vice chair and director of undergraduate studies (1966-71), division head (1976-78), and served faithfully on numerous committees. His research activities included an edition of the Oboe Concerto in C Major, K. 314, by W.A. Mozart (published by Southern Music) and a trip to France in 1992 to study Arundo donax, the cane used to make oboe reeds. As the assistant director of the Longhorn Band, Dick created the famed Script “Texas” band formation. Amy, Dick’s wife of fifty years, offers this tribute: “Remember, whenever you see the Script “Texas” on the football field, it’s just Mr. Blair saying, HELLO!”
In addition to his passion for music, Dick was a devoted collector of antique music boxes and 78 rpm classical music recordings. He was also a skilled woodworker and loved spending time with his friends and family at his homes in Fredericksburg and Silver Plume, CO. Dick’s love of music, his legendary humor, and his passion for teaching are only a small part of his vast legacy. He made a profound and lasting impact on the lives of all who knew him and will be greatly missed.
William Powers Jr., President
The University of Texas at Austin
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty
This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors Rebecca Henderson (chair), Harvey Pittel, and Kristin Wolfe Jensen.