MATHIS, Donald R. born May 10, 1926 in Omaha NE, son of Howard and Neva Mathis, died Oct. 27, 2013 in Asheville NC. Don grew up in Edwardsville IL, where he became an Eagle Scout. He served in the U. S. Navy during and following World War II. A choral conductor with a national reputation, he was an exceptional church musician who remained in demand as both a voice teacher and vocal pedagogue well into his retirement and until the last months of his life. His life and legacy will be long remembered, not only in the lives he touched directly, but through the continuing work of his many students across the country and around the world. With degrees from Illinois Wesleyan and Bradley Universities and Westminster Choir College, where he was also on the faculty, he served and taught in Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida. Besides significant work in churches, he founded both the St. Petersburg Boychoir in St. Petersburg, and Florida's Singing Sons in Ft. Lauderdale, inspiring and guiding the lives of generations of young men. He was preceded in death by sisters, Virginia Shepard and Grace Gordon. He is survived by his wife, Joan Mathis; sister, Betty Middle; son, William; and daughters, Chris Lee, Barbie Hardcastle, Debbi Briggs, and Mary Jane Mathis; stepsons, Allan and David Hickok; 13 grandchildren; and 9 great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Ft. Lauderdale at a time to be determined. Memorial gifts may be made to Westminster Choir College, 101 Walnut Lane, Princeton, NJ 08540 for the Donald R. Mathis Scholarship Fund.
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Published in the Tampa Bay Times on Nov. 2, 2013