Rolf Legbandt of Lula, Ga., died Aug. 25, 2013. He was born Aug. 26, 1930, in Chicago, Ill., to mother, Helene Dora Klara Herzner Legband, and father, Alfred Heinrich Legband. Mother Helene emigrated from Hamburg, Germany, and father Alfred emigrated from Kiel, Germany, met in Chicago and married in July 1929.
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Rolf graduated high school from Pasadena Junior College, Calif., in 1948 and in July joined the Marine Corps, hoping to use his musicianship in the Camp Pendleton Marine Band. In August of 1950, he landed with the First Provisional Marine Brigade at Pusan, Korea, and spent until May of 1951 as a machine gun squad leader, securing command posts from Pusan to the 38th parallel, except for a brief stay in field and ship hospitals having a shrapnel wound treated. He was involuntarily re-enlisted for one year, during which he was first chair clarinetist in the Camp Pendleton Marine Band, and was discharged in July 1952 as a staff sergeant.
After working in aircraft factories for two years, he began his schooling at the University of Michigan. He transferred to the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, where he received a bachelor of Music Performance degree in 1958 and a Performer's Certificate of Clarinet in 1959. While a student there, he became principal first clarinet with the Eastman Philharmonia, as well as first chair clarinet in the Eastman Wind Ensemble, which produced some 13 recordings for Mercury Records during those three years. He also became a member of the Rochester Philharmonic at the invitation of his teacher for two seasons. He then returned to the University of Michigan to earn his master's degree. During that year, he was awarded the "Oliver Ditson" award and was a member of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra.
After graduation in 1960, he was hired by Ball State University, Muncie, Ind., where he taught clarinet for 32 years. In 1974, he was invited to record the first in a series of recordings called "Artists in Residence" by the Coronet Record Co. in Columbus, Ohio, which received rave reviews. As a member of the Musical Arts Quintet (the faculty wind quintet), he toured over 40 states, culminating in a 1964 recital in Carnegie Hall to rave reviews. He was also the first teacher of winds in the performance department of Ball State's School of Music to be elevated to the position of full professor. He was the principal clarinetist with the Muncie and Richmond Symphonies, as well as the Marion Philharmonic and was guest conductor for a performance with the Anderson Symphony. He performed regularly at BSU's Chamber Music Festivals, Mid-America Music Clinics, and in faculty recitals and was guest soloist with many orchestras.
He retired in 1992 from BSU, and moved with wife, Rose, to the country near Lula, Ga., in 1993 to a home he designed and helped build. Before his performance career came to an end because of throat cancer in 1999, he became first clarinetist in the Gainesville Symphony, was in the "Cake and Coffee" Woodwind Trio, the "Mountain Winds Woodwind Quintet" and appeared several times with the "Carolina Chamber Players at Clemson University." He also performed often at First Presbyterian Church, and was an adjunct professor of Clarinet at Truett-McConnell College for five years.
Rolf was married to Phyllis Rode Mackey from December 1955 until October 1975, and is father of Julie Irish, Santa Fe, N.M.; Kathy Zalok (Magd), Stafford, Va.; and Anne Stacy Armstrong, (Jesse Smith), Orefield, Pa. In 1978 he married Rose Patrick Armstrong and is stepfather to Phillip Armstrong, Allentown, Pa.; Paul Armstrong, Benkelman, Neb.; and Elaine Johnson (Don), Niceville, Fla. He enjoyed nine grandchildren: Sam Zalok, Zachary Zalok, Adam Zalok, Grace Armstrong, Scott Armstrong, Erin Duricy, Kate Duricy, Alan Johnson, and Victoria Johnson. Rolf was predeceased by his parents; and his sister, Margaret Gordon.
On July 31, 1994, Rolf was baptized and joined First Presbyterian Church by profession of faith. He served as usher/greeter, served in the Andrews Ministry, was a Stephen Minister, a deacon and was a faithful member of Twenty to Life Sunday School class.
A memorial service will be held on Sept. 7 at 2:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Gainesville. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to First Presbyterian Church, 800 S. Enota Drive, NE, Gainesville, GA 30501, or Hospice of Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Inc., 2150 Limestone Parkway, Suite 222, Gainesville, GA 30501.
Those wishing to send online condolences may do so at www.littledavenport.com.
Little & Davenport Funeral Home, 355 Dawsonville Highway, SW, Gainesville, GA 30501, is in charge of arrangements.
Little-Davenport Funeral Home
355 Dawsonville Highway Southwest Gainesville, GA 30501
Published in gainesvilletimes.com on Aug. 28, 2013