H. Owen Reed (age 103) died at Arbor Terrace, in Athens, Georgia on Monday, January 6, 2014. He was born in Odessa, Missouri on June 17, 1910. He worked his way through the University of Missouri and Louisiana State University playing in Jazz bands and later received a Ph.D. from Eastman School of Music. He was a professor of Music Theory and Composition at Michigan State University from 1939 through 1976. He was a well-known composer especially of band music, his best known composition being La Fiesta Mexicana. He also wrote the music for the folk opera Michigan Dream for MSU's 1955 Centennial. "Michigan Morn" from that opera has become a much-loved song in Michigan. He was a member of the "Geriatric Six," a faculty jazz ensemble at MSU.
He was an avid sportsman and enjoyed a life-long love of fishing. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather and traveled frequently to visit family.
He was predeceased by his first wife Esther of almost 50 years, his son-in-law Dick Wetters, and his great grandson Michael Curry. He is survived by his wife Mary of 31 years, his daughters Sara (Joe) Ferrar and Carol Wetters and step-children Diane (Ken) Dougan, Gary (Dai) Arwood, and Dan (Dawn) Arwood, 15 grandchildren, and 21 great-grandchildren.
The family wants to extend its gratitude to all the employees of Arbor Terrace and of St. Mary's Hospice.
No services are planned. As a memorial, contributions may be made to the H. Owen Reed Scholarship Fund at Blue Lakes Fine Arts Camp (300 E. Crystal Lake Road, Twin Lake, MI 49457) or to the H. Owen Reed Archive at Michigan State University Music Library (Checks to MSU sent to Mary Black Junttonen, 366 West Circle Drive, Room 410, MSU, East Lansing, MI 48824)
Lord and Stephens, WEST, Bogart, GA, is in charge of arrangements.
Published in Athens Banner-Herald on Jan. 8, 2014