Frank Butenschon III

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Frank Butenschon III, 77, of Lake Park, Georgia, died at his home on December 25, 2015, after a courageous battle with cancer. He was born in Opelika, Ala. on January 4, 1938 to the late Frank Jr. and Carrie Trammell Butenschon. An Auburn University graduate, Mr. Butenschon first came to Valdosta in 1960 as band director at Valdosta Jr. High School. In 1962, he was given the job of Coordinator of Instrumental Music for the Valdosta City Schools. From then until 1977 "Mr. B" led the Valdosta High Music program into national prominence. Under Mr. B's direction the Valdosta High School Marchin Cats performed at every local and state championship football game. This group grew to over 400 members, who regularly won nationally ranked contests. The Marchin' Cats also performed during the Inauguration of Governor Jimmy Carter. During his 15 year career as Director of the Valdosta High School Band Program, The Marchin' Cats competed and won the 1967 National Cherry Blossom Parade of Princesses Competition in Washington, D.C., won the Greatest Band In Dixie Grand Championship in New Orleans in 1969 and 1972, won the 1972 Winternationals Field Competition and then performed a televised halftime show for the Miami Dolphins, as representatives of the State of Georgia won the 1974 and 1977 National Field Championships at the Festival of States in St. Petersburg, Florida, and were named Field Champions at the Largo Invitational in Largo, Florida. The Concert and Symphonic bands and the Jazz Ensemble never received less than a Superior Rating during graded competitions. The Jazz Ensemble was selected twice to perform at the Georgia Music State Convention. In 1970, February 5 was proclaimed "Frank Butenschon Day" in Valdosta and Lowndes County and in 1969, 1970, 1972 and 1974 Mr. Butenschon and the Marchin' Cats received proclamations from the Georgia House of Representatives for Outstanding Talents and Achievements. He was the first Georgia Recipient of the National Band Association's Citation of Excellence and was named Outstanding Young Educator of Valdosta and Lowndes County in 1970. In 1993 he received the award as "Outstanding Music Educator" Southeastern United States, at the Southeastern United States Band Convention. In 2006 he was inducted into the National Band Directors Hall of fame and in 2008 was named Director Emeritus of the Valdosta High School Band. In 2014, during a reunion of Valdosta High School Marchin' Cats, Mr. B received a Proclamation from State Representative Tim Golden which commemorated his career of excellence in education and music and was also awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from Troy State University for his career of service in Musical Education. In 2015, Mr. B was honored by the Georgia Music Educators Association at their annual convention for his outstanding contribution to Music Education in Georgia. Mr. Butenschon initiated and chaired the creation of the Southern Open Band Competition, held annually in Valdosta, which has attracted bands from around Georgia. In 2015, Mr. B helped to create Azalea Winds, which he referred as a "Classic Community Band", composed of current and former band students as well as others in the community who had musical experience. Mr. B co-conducted his final performance with the group in late November. Mr. Butenschon's career in music education did not end in 1977 when he left Valdosta City Schools. In 1978, Mr. B joined the staff at Rutland's Music in Valdosta as Vice President of Instrument Sales and Service. In 1979 he became High School Band Director in Oxford, Alabama and in 1982, he became Director of Bands for Guntersville, Alabama, School System. Over the next 7 years, Mr. B also took the Guntersville High School Band to prominence at the national competition level. In 1989, the City of Vidalia brought in Mr. B to run their High School Band Program and in 1992 the Butenschon family moved back to Lowndes County. He continued his career as an educator, working with the band programs in Berrien and Cook Counties and as a popular clinician and source of support for regional band programs. In 1997, the Butenschons began their own fund-raising and band consulting business, B & L Enterprises, which is still in operation to this day. Mr. Butenschon's professional affiliations included the Georgia Educators Association, The Georgia Music Educators Association, The Music Educators National Conference, The National Band Association, Phi Mu Alpha, Phi Kappa Psi and Phi Beta Mu. Mr. Butenschon is survived by his wife of 51 years, Susan Stembridge Butenschon, of Lake Park; son and daughter-in-law, Kevin Tod and Kendra Butenschon, of Hahira; his son, Chris Dodd Butenschon, of Lake Park; five grandchildren, Taylor Strickland (Brent), Kari Butenschon, Tiffany Butenschon, Hannah Butenschon, Tod Butenschon. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his eldest son, Frank "Skip" Butenschon IV. Service for Frank Butenschon will be held at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, December 29, 2015 at Park Avenue United Methodist Church. Visitation was held at the church from 5-7 p.m. on Monday, December 28, 2015. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to one of the following: The , P.O. Box 22478, Oklahoma City, OK 73123. Halcyon Hospice, 101 E Northside Dr., Valdosta, GA 31602. The "Azalea Winds/Frank Butenschon Scholarship at First State Bank", 3650 Inner Perimeter Rd., Valdosta, GA 31602. Condolences to the family may be conveyed online at www.mclanecares.com.
Published in The Anniston Star on Dec. 29, 2015
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