Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Piece Of Our Childhood Has Died

Al English, touched MANY of us. From the Class of 57 alone came 3 band directors who left their mark on the profession. I was also blessed by him, as were countless others.

It is with great sadness that I pass on the following obituary. He blazed a trail through many cities, where the people he touched will remember him always. I have always looked up to Al as someone who helped form a portion of my life in school.

Alvin B. English, Jr., 79, passed away quietly at his home on Tuesday morning, June 27, 2006, after a long illness. Al spent 35 years as a teacher, band director and professional trombonist in Refugio, San Antonio and New Braunfels, Texas before retiring to his home on Lake Conroe in 1986. He was born on September 24, 1926, in Burkburnett, Texas to the Rev. Alvin B. English, Sr. and Harrell Kincaid English.He is survived by his wife, Flora Hinson English, his son, Paul English of Houston, his three daughters and sons-in-law, Leah and Dean McDaniel of Katy, Rachael and Henry Barsotti of Philipsburg, Montana and Stella English of San Antonio, his sisters Camilla Irwin and Joyce Satterwhite, 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Services will be at St. Mark Lutheran Church at 2100 Tickner in Conroe at 2 pm on Friday, June 30, 2006.


Anonymous Dick Chapman said...

Two memories I have of Al English: 1. I remember being told Al English came to Searcy only because the Band Parents were able to raise enough private funds to pay half his salary (the school system wouldn't fund the entire amount). I have carried this story in my mind for 50 years or so and would appreciate a correction to it if my memory has failed. 2. He HATED Lawrence Welk's "champagne music"...why do we carry these weird memories around?

1:41 AM  
Anonymous Gene Barnett said...

Hi gang, I am so glad that you entered this about Al English. He was my mentor and more like a friend than teacher but a great teacher he was. I had the opportunity to visit with him by letter and email not long ago. I was honored that he remembered me. I miss being around him and Ernie Simpson as well. I know that all who were close to them feel the same.

Gene Barnett

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Dick Chapman said...

Speaking of band directors...I do volunteer income tax preparation for AARP, and one of my co-workers is Jane Daunhauer. She is the widow of Bud Daunhauer, who was the band director at SHS from September 1960 to May of 1963. I remember that his first marriage was to someone from Augusta but I can't remember who that was. Anyway, after he left Searcy he played in night club orchestras for a while, including a stint at the old Lafayette Hotel in Little Rock, and then he returned to teach at Forest Heights Jr. High in Little Rock. After that I lost track, and I haven't asked Jane for any other information about him.

There isn't room for all my memories of Daunhauer, but I will say that I admired his energy and his commitment to excellence. He refused to accept average performances (therefore I lost first chair to the sophomore Wendy Coven for about three weeks in my senior year...I wasn't happy but it made me understand that I couldn't coast, and it got me back in the practice room where I belonged). He pushed his students pretty hard, but he also went to bat for them, finding scholarships and other assistance for those who need some help getting into and through college. His mentor was the late, great Gene Witherspoon of Arkansas Tech College (now University), who took Daunhauer under his wings. I was led to believe Daunhauer had had a rough childhood in the New Orleans area, but I don't know if this is really true...anyway, Witherspoon took care of him, and he tried to return the favor by seeing that his own students made it through college as well.

Searcy had another band director during the two years between English and Daunhauer (the 1958-59 and 1959-60 school years). That was Don "Duck" Davis. He was at Star City High before coming to replace English. I don't have a clue what happened to him after he left Searcy.

10:57 PM  

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