Dr. Charles Frederick Bath

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GREENVILLE - Dr. Charles Frederick Bath, 89, died peacefully on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, in Greenville, North Carolina, having lived a beautiful life filled with love, laughter, and music. He was the beloved husband of Joanne Marillyn McMath Bath, originally of Portland, OR.
A Celebration and Thanksgiving for Life Service will be held at 2:30 pm on Saturday, January 27 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Greenville. Following the service, the family will receive friends at a reception in the Parish Hall. A private family interment will be held in Pinewood Memorial Park.
Married in 1958, Charles and Joanne met at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he was a doctoral degree student in piano performance and she was a master's degree student in violin performance. Since that time, they enjoyed 60 years performing as the Bath Duo, performing hundreds of recitals and impacting countless numbers of children, families, and musicians throughout the state, country, and world.
Charles was born in Niles, MI, on September 25, 1928, to Olga and Herman Bath. He began piano lessons at age three. After graduating from Niles High School in 1946, he received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance in 1951 from University of Michigan. Following college, he served in the US Navy (1951-59), and worked on the base in Norfolk as Organist and Chaplain's Assistant. He received a Master of Music Degree in Music Literature and Piano from Eastman School of Music (1957) and a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Piano from University of Michigan (1964).
From 1960-65 Charles worked as Assistant Professor of Music at Wichita State University (KS). He accepted a position as Professor of Music at East Carolina University in 1966, becoming Chair of the Keyboard Department in 1972. After 43 years of service, Charles retired from ECU in 2009 with the distinguished title of Professor Emeritus.
A renowned pianist, accompanist, and adjudicator, Charles was involved in hundreds of recitals and competitions. In addition to membership in many professional organizations, he served as President of the NC Music Teachers Association (1991-1993) and Director of NC Federated Music Clubs Piano Festival (1975-1989), and was founder of the Greenville Piano Teachers Association.
Whether he was in the concert hall playing Brahms, or at a party taking song requests, Charles reflected joy in the process of creating music and sharing it with others. He had the ability to improvise in a variety of musical genres and was known for the musical jokes he would create within a piece. Many would say that he had played "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" more times than anyone else in the world.
Happy memories for Charles included being with his family and friends. He was an avid Chicago Cubs baseball fan and enjoyed jogging and travelling. He was a 31-year member of the Greenville Noon Rotary Club where he was resident pianist and received the Paul Harris Fellow Award for his continued contributions to his community. He was a longtime member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
Charles is survived by his wife of 59 years, Joanne, and their four children: Pamela Bath Kelly and husband Rob of Dunn; Patricia Bath Hancock and husband Frank of Tampa, FL; Stephen Charles Bath of Greenville; and Andrea Bath Moore and husband Kent of Charlotte.
Charles was affectionately known as "Chooch" to his thirteen grandchildren: Harris Kelly and wife Samantha of Aiken, SC; Catherine Kelly Hermsen and husband Jacco of Raleigh; Rhodes Kelly of Washington; Alex Hancock of Atlanta, GA; Charles Hancock of Arlington, VA; Katie Hancock of Tampa, FL; Elizabeth Hancock of Tampa, FL; Austin Bath of Chapel Hill; Annalise Bath of Greenville; Meredith Bath of Wilmington; Madeleine Moore of New York, NY; John Moore of Chapel Hill; and Kate Moore of Charlotte.
Memorial contributions may be made to the ECU School of Music Faculty Emeritus Scholarship Fund. (Mail to Attn: Chris Ulffers, Re: Scholarship Fund/Charles Bath, ECU School of Music, Greenville, NC 27858).
Online condolences may be made at www.wilkersonfuneralhome.com.
Funeral Home
Wilkerson Funeral Home and Crematory
2100 East Fifth Street
Greenville, NC 27858
(252) 752-2101
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Published in The Daily Reflector on Jan. 21, 2018
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