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Gene Wenner

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Gene C. Wenner

1931 - 2013 PITTSFIELD Gene C. Wenner, 81, of Richmond Street, passed away at Baystate Medical Center on March 15, after complications from a heart attack and congestive heart failure.

Gene was born Dec. 21, 1931 in Catasauqua, Pa., to Clint and Bertha Tagert Wenner. He attended schools in Catasauqua, West Chester State University; Temple University and received a doctorate from Pennsylvania State University in 1961.

He was a radio operator and Chaplain's Assistant in the Army from 1955-1956 during the Korean War and conducted an award winning men's chorus, USEUR and mixed Chapel Choir.

Mr. Wenner began his career as a music teacher in the Philadelphia public schools and as a professor at Kutztown State University. He held positions with the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the US Commissioner of Education in Washington, D.C., developing, managing and representing arts education programs, including designing the Related Arts Curriculum with R. Buckminster Fuller and Arthur Lithgow and the Arts Education Forum chaired by Mrs. Walter Mondale with representatives from MENC and NAEA.

He was the Associate Director of the John D. Rockefeller 3rd Fund in New Yotk, N.Y., where he managed and developed the Coalition of States for Arts Education which was a national effort to strengthen and develop long-range, comprehensive arts programs in public schools. Mr. Wenner was President and CEO of the American Music Conference in Wilmette, Ill., a non-profit public relations organization for the music instrument and publication industry. He was the Vice President of the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts in Miami, Fla., managing the Arts Recognition and Talent Search and Presidential Scholars in the Arts programs. He was also a Project Coordinator for National Public Radio for Performance Today, in Washington, D.C., and was the Senior Consultant for the Business and Industry for the Arts in Education, NY, NY.

Mr. Wenner was the Executive Director of the Community School of the Arts in Charlotte, N.C., and was the Education Coordinator for the National Music Foundation in Lenox, as well. Most recently, he served as Adjunct Faculty at Berkshire Community College and President of Arts & Education Consultants. located in Pittsfield, which has been in operation for many years.

Mr. Wenner was a member of the First Congregational Church of Dalton, where he was recently elected as Church Treasurer. Prior, he was a member of Zion's Lutheran Church in Pittsfield. He had been the recipient of many awards, including Hershey Pennsylvania Man of the Year in 1968, Best Music Director at The Little Theater of Alexandria, Va., cited in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in Music and a Founding Member of the Pennsylvania Theater Alliance.

Mr. Wenner had been a board chair, member and advisor to many non-profit organizations nationally. He had also been a conductor, guest conductor, director and composer for music and theater organizations throughout the country. Much of his writing and articles can be found in publications nationally and locally as well.

Mr. Wenner is predeceased by his wife, Carole Brunner Wenner, whom he married Aug. 15, 1953. He was a devoted husband throughout their entire marriage and through a very difficult illness which eventually took her life.

He is also predeceased by his brother, Nelson J. Wenner, who was a minister with the United Church of Christ.

He is survived by his son, Robert L. Wenner, wife Susan, and son Matthew of Franklin, Tenn; his daughter, Laurel W. Carsell, her husband, Dr. J. Patrick Carsell, and son, Blake of Dalton, and granddaughter, Emilie Carsell of Daytona Beach, Fla., as well as nieces and nephews and family in the Pennsylvania area.

Gene touched so many lives with his sense of humor and kindness. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and colleagues.

MEMORIAL SERVICE: A memorial service will held for Mr. Wenner on Saturday, April 13, 2013, at 10 a.m. at the First Congregational Church of Dalton. A reception will follow at the church.

Donations may be made to the First Congregational Church in memory of Mr. Wenner, in care of the BARTLETT WELLINGTON FUNERAL HOME, 525 Main St., Dalton, MA 01226. Please visit www.wellingtonfuneralhome.com to leave condolences for the family.


Published in The Berkshire Eagle on Mar. 24, 2013
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