Don Plummer Knapp

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Don Plummer Knapp, age 83, a lifelong resident of Beaumont, Texas, passed away on November 10, 2012, in Rockport, Texas. He will be greatly missed by members of his family, friends, former band students, and fellow musicians. Don was born April 23, 1929, in Beaumont. He attended Dick Dowling Jr. High School and was a 1946 graduate of Beaumont High School, where he was a proud member of the Royal Purple Band. Don was a trumpet player and a private student of Everret James, the father of the famous trumpeter Harry James, also from Beaumont. He loved playing the trumpet so much that he started his own Big Band The Star Dusters while still at Beaumont High. Among the members of this band was J.P. Richards, later known as The Big Bopper. Upon high school graduation, Don attended Lamar Tech in Beaumont and later transferred to North Texas State University in Denton where he finished his Bachelor and Master's degrees in Music. While attending NTSU, he met the true love of his life, Jo Ann Clary, of Killeen and they were married for forty-nine years before her death in 1999. Don was a member of several organizations including The Deckers a campus dance band and the Lead Trumpeter for the One O'Clock Lab Band. He was a member of the 'Fessor Graham Society', and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity. After graduating from North Texas he was a member of the 5th Army Band and 4th Army Band. Then he taught Band and Orchestra for Barbers Hill, Vidor, Beaumont ISD, and South Park ISD. Don was also very active in the music community of Beaumont. Not only did he teach band students, he was a private brass instructor to many students, some who later became band directors themselves. Don held the position of Principal Trumpet in the Beaumont Symphony for twenty-five seasons. He was also a member of the Orange Community Band, the Beaumont Community Band, the 4th Army Reunion Band, and the leader of the Don Knapp Orchestra. Don loved to travel with his family whenever possible. He and Jo Ann were members of many travel organizations and charter members of the Mobile Scout Fun Travelers Club. Don and Jo Ann traveled extensively in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and made several tours of Europe. He also loved fishing and photography. Don was preceded in death by his mother, Vera Mae Plummer Knapp; and wife, Jo Ann Clary Knapp. He is survived by his children, Leland Plummer and Peggy Wathen Knapp of Rockport, Donna Jo Knapp Sanders of Fort Worth, and Clary Ann Knapp Rocchi of Austin; grandchildren, Kate Knapp, Evan Knapp, and Journee Rocchi; as well as thousands of former band and orchestra students. A gathering of Mr. Knapp's family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 13, 2012, at Broussard's, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont. His funeral service will be 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, November 14, 2012, at Broussard's, with interment to follow at Magnolia Cemetery, Beaumont. Complete and updated information may be found at

Published in The Beaumont Enterprise on Nov. 12, 2012
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